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J Community Health. 1989 Winter;14(4):227-41.

The health of children adopted from India.

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School of Nursing, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.


Little information is presently available about health issues associated with intercountry adoptions. This research starts to fill this gap by surveying the health problems of 200 children from India adopted by 166 Oregon families during the period 1978-1987. Parents' responses to a mail questionnaire revealed that at least 37.5% of the children were premature. The children's birth weights and birth lengths were 3 to 4 SDs below WHO norms, and almost all the children's weights and heights by age, at time of arrival in the United States were below WHO's 50th percentile value. Feeding problems were frequent (35.0%), as were salmonella (30.5%), malnutrition (22.0%), anemia (18.5%), and developmental delays (18.0%). Many children were not tested for communicable diseases endemic to India such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis and salmonellosis. Many diseases and health problems were unanticipated by parents on the basis of medical reports received from India, and parents expressed a need for greater support and better resources in dealing with these health problems.

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