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Title of Paper: Health of Children Adopted From the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Type of Paper: Original article; Medical Chart Review

Purpose: To compare the pre-adoptive medical records to the medical evaluations soon after arrival into the U. S. in children adopted from Eastern Europe.

Nutrition-Related Measures:

Participants: 56 children adopted from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union who were seen in 2 international adoption clinics. Pre-adoptive medical records from the birth country were available for 47 of the children. Children were between 2. 5 months and 9 years old at arrival into the US (median age was 26 months).

Methods: Chart review of (1) pre-adoptive medical records from the birth countries and (2) medical evaluations that had been completed soon after arrival in the U. S.

Nutrition Results:

Conclusions & Clinical Implications: The authors not that there were often discrepancy between the pre-adoptive evaluations and the post-arrival medical evaluations in the U. S. According to the pre-adoption medical records, almost one-third (32%) were born premature and over one-quarter (29%) were born small for gestational age. Although this paper did not address the nutritional risk, children born early and/or small for gestational age may be at a greater risk for malnutrition and need special nutritional considerations. According to the post-adoption medical records, there were growth delays in height, weight, and head circumference at arrival. Linear growth (i.e., height) delay was associated with the length of time spent in institutions. Also, intestinal parasites were common at the time of arrival, and although not discussed in this paper, intestinal parasites may increase the risk for both macronutrient (e. g. , physical growth) and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) malnutrition.

Limitations of the Nutritional Results: The authors note that growth delays may have been underestimated because birth dates were unknown and estimated in some children. According to the pre-adoption medical records, none of the children had abnormal hematocrits, and indicator of anemia, prior to adoption. However, the rate of anemia post-arrival was not reported.

Reference: Albers LH, Johnson DE, Hostetter MK, Iverson S, Miller LC. Health of Children Adopted From the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1997; 278 (11): 922-924. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9302245


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