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Title of Paper: Characteristics of young foster children in the urban slums of Bangladesh

Study Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Type of Paper: Original Article; Prospective Cross-Sectional Study

Purpose: To describe the reasons for fostering children in the urban slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh and to describe their feeding patterns and nutritional and health status.

Nutrition-Related Measures:

Participants: 46 pairs of mothers and their foster children under the age of 24 months who were living in seven slum areas of Dhaka City. Children entered foster care on average 20 days after birth (range 1 to 120 days). 82 pairs of mothers and their biological children of similar age were included as a comparison group. The average age of the children at assessment was just under 5 months.

Methods: Standard anthropometry (weight and length) was collected by physicians during home visits. Information regarding morbidity and feeding practices were also collected through parental report.

Nutrition Results:

Conclusions & Clinical Implications: Children living in foster care in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh have poor nutritional status and are exposed to inappropriate feeding practices compared to children living with their biological mothers who are living in poverty in the same regions. Children living in foster care display growth failure on all measures of physical growth. The authors discuss that the poor nutritional status (i.e., physical growth) may be due to the inappropriate feeding practices (e. g. , early introduction of solids) in combination with diseases such as diarrhea. The authors discuss that infant and child mortality is prevalent in Bangladesh, and foster care may contribute to the high rates of undernutrition and mortality. They emphasize that improving the nutritional status and feeding practices, as well as disease prevention, in these children is critical to improving their health.

Limitations of the Nutritional Results: No significant limitations.

Reference: Sarkar NR, Biswas KB, Khatun UHF, Datta AK. Characteristics of young foster children in the urban slums of Bangladesh. Acta Pædiatrica. 2003; 92 (7): 839-842. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12892165


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