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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Jan;8(1):105-16. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8010105. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

The impact of nutritional status and longitudinal recovery of motor and cognitive milestones in internationally adopted children.

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Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of California Irvine, 505 S. Main St., Suite 525, Orange, CA 92868, USA.


Internationally adopted children often arrive from institutional settings where they have experienced medical, nutritional and psychosocial deprivation. This study uses a validated research assessment tool to prospectively assess the impact of baseline (immediately post adoption) nutritional status on fifty-eight children as measured by weight-for-age, height-for-age, weight-for-height and head circumference-for-age z scores, as a determinant of cognitive (MDI) and psychomotor development (PDI) scores longitudinally. A statistical model was developed to allow for different ages at time of initial assessment as well as variable intervals between follow up visits. The study results show that both acute and chronic measures of malnutrition significantly affect baseline developmental status as well as the rate of improvement in both MDI and PDI scores. This study contributes to the body of literature with its prospective nature, unique statistical model for longitudinal evaluation, and use of a validated assessment tool to assess outcomes.


cognitive impairment; developmental delay; international adoption; malnutrition; nutrition

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