Explore Nutrition by Country:

Nutrition for Orphaned Children in China

Located in East Asia, China is the world’s most populous country with approximately 1.3 billion people.

Many orphaned children in China live in institutions under the protection of the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA). The rest live with relatives or in informal “foster care.” Children’s Welfare Institutes are government-funded facilities responsible for providing care, education and medical treatment for orphaned or abandoned children. Of the children living in children’s welfare institutions, over half are children with special medical needs.

For children living in these facilities, daily diet can vary greatly. Not only are there cultural differences between provinces, but some institutions are able to raise more money per child in their respective province. In many facilities, young children primarily eat formula and rice cereal, and occasionally receive eggs, congi (porridge), or fruit. Children living in children’s welfare institutions typically receive three meals a day with snacks between meals. The traditional Chinese diet is governed by a careful balance of grains, meat and vegetables; it is low in fat, low in dairy, high in complex carbohydrates and high in sodium.

Recent work done by professionals in China indicates children living in rural areas may be at increased risk for micronutrient deficiencies. Additionally, data collected from children recently adopted from China indicates that the following nutrient deficiencies may be present in Chinese orphans:

  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Selenium

View literature on the nutritional status of children adopted from China International Adoptees.

Learn more about micronutrient deficiencies Micronutrient Malnutrition.

A Child’s Best Start in China

China is the pilot country for programs and trainings under A Child’s Best Start.

To date, the Mead Johnson Nutrition Foundation collaborated with several organizations, including Love without Boundaries and the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), to distribute 8,000 bottles specifically designed for children with cleft palate at 1,000 children’s welfare institutions in China.

Learn more about the Cleft Bottle Project A Child’s Best Start Cleft Bottle Project.

Joint Council is working with the CCCWA, Mead Johnson Nutrition Foundation and several non-profit organizations to provide hands-on nutrition training for caregivers at children’s welfare institutions. As training materials are developed and translated into Mandarin Chinese, they will gradually be added here.