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Title of Paper: Medical and mental health of children entering the Utah foster care system

Study Location: Utah, USA

Type of Paper: Original Article; Database Review

Purpose: To describe the medical and mental health of children entering foster care on a statewide level.

Nutrition-Related Measures:

Participants: 6177 children whose health screening at entry into foster care was entered into a statewide database that contains health screening information for all children in the state entering foster care. 40% of the children were under 6 years old.

Methods: Review of the initial health screening of all children entering foster care in the state of Utah. Information was gathered from a statewide database.

Nutrition Results (Physical Growth):

Conclusions & Clinical Implications: This study found a high rate of overweight/obesity in older children (>3 years old) entering foster care. This study also found a lower prevalence of growth deficits (low weight or height for age) in children under 5 years old compared to previous reports of children entering foster care. The authors suggest that this low prevalence of growth deficits may be due to including children on a statewide level in this study, whereas previous studies of children living in foster care have often reported on children from a single clinic, which may have a higher rate of high-risk children.

Limitations of the Nutritional Results: No significant limitations.

Reference: Steele JS, Buchi KF. Medical and mental health of children entering the Utah foster care system. Pediatrics. 2008;122 (3) : e703-e709. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18762506


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