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Am J Public Health. 2001 Nov;91(11):1800-5.

Growth status and related medical conditions among refugee children in Massachusetts, 1995-1998.

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Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, Mass, USA.



This study analyzed growth and identified related medical conditions among refugee children in Massachusetts.


Between July 1995 and June 1998, 1825 refugee children were screened. Variables included positive tuberculin (purified protein derivative; PPD) test; dental abnormalities; pathogenic parasites; weight-for-age, height-for-age, and weight-for-height z scores; and body mass index greater than the 84th percentile.


Of all the children, 21% had parasites, 62% had caries, and 25% had a positive PPD reaction. Twelve percent overall and 28% younger than 2 years had anemia. Eight percent had height-for-age z scores less than -2, and 6% had weight-for-age z scores greater than +2. Of those aged 1 to 9 years, 7% had weight-for-height z scores greater than +2. Weight-for-height z scores less than -2 were concentrated among Africans and East Asians (both 8%). Height-for-age z scores less than -2 were seen among African (13%), Near Eastern (19%), and East Asian (30%) children. Weight-for-height z scores greater than +2 and body mass index greater than the 84th percentile were concentrated among children from the former Yugoslavia (8% and 15%) and the former Soviet Union (8% and 14%).


Recently arrived refugee children have significant growth abnormalities. European refugees were overweight; those from developing countries had growth retardation.

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