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Title of Paper: Medical diagnoses and growth of children residing in Russian orphanages.

Study Location: Murmansk Region, Russia

Type of Paper: Original Article; Medical Chart Review

Purpose: To describe the health of young children living in Russian orphanages

Nutrition-Related Measures:

Participants: 193 children living in three baby homes in the Murmansk region of Russia who were between 2 and 72 months of age (average age was 22. 8 months; 90% were younger than 40 months). Children had entered the baby homes at various ages, from birth to 72 months (average was 11 months). This study included all the children in the baby homes except for those with special needs.

Methods: Review of the medical charts at the orphanage. Physical growth measurements were available for birth, entry into the baby home, and current. Orphanage staff were trained in obtaining growth measures.

Nutrition Results:

Conclusions & Clinical Implications: Many children had growth delays both before and during institutionalization. Some children who were growth impaired prior to entry into the orphanage experienced catch-up growth, particularly in head circumference, while in the orphanage. These findings suggest that the baby homes may be an improvement in environments for some children coming from hospitalization or dysfunctional family environments. However, growth recovery is likely not complete as most children remained below average for growth. In addition to delayed growth, low birth weight, premature birth, rickets, and anemia were reported.

Limitations of the Nutritional Results: The authors do not discuss the accuracy of the children’s medical history regarding birth history and nutritional diagnoses such as rickets and anemia.

Reference: Miller LC, Chan W, Litvinova A, Rubin A, Tirella L, Cermak S. Medical diagnoses and growth of children residing in Russian orphanages. Acta Pædiatrica. 2007; 96 (12): 1765-1769. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17971188

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