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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2001 Feb;40(2):63-70.

Behavioral and cognitive status in school-aged children with a history of failure to thrive during early childhood.

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Arkansas Children's Hospital & Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, Little Rock, USA.


Twenty-seven school children (aged 8-12 years) earlier diagnosed with nonorganic failure to thrive (FTT) were compared with a normal socioeconomically matched control group (N=17) on current height and weight parameters as well as cognitive, achievement, and behavioral measures from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The former FTT children were, on average, smaller, less cognitively able, and more behaviorally disturbed than the control children and national normative samples. Sixty percent of former FTT children were below the 20th percentile in height and 48% were below the 20th percentile in weight; 52% had IQs below 80 and 30% had reading standard scores below 80; 48% had clinically adverse attention ratings and 30% had clinically adverse aggression ratings on the CBCL. Within the FTT sample, however, there were no significant associations between current growth measures and cognitive/achievement outcome measures. Mothers' IQs provided the strongest prediction of the FTT children's reading scores. The mothers of the FTT children had not achieved as high levels of education as the mothers of the control children, and more of them were single parents. Early growth problems put children at high risk for multiple adverse sequelae in middle childhood, especially if mothers are poorly educated. Careful ongoing follow-up of such children by pediatricians is encouraged.

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