Developmental and Nutritional Status of Internationally Adopted Children

Laurie C. Miller, Marybeth T. Kiernan, Michele I. Mathers, Marisa Klein-Gitelman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the relationship between developmental status of international adoptees at the time of entry into the United States and their nutritional status and concurrent medical problems. Design: Prospective study. Setting/Patients: One hundred twenty-nine internationally adopted children attending the International Adoption Clinic at the Floating Hospital for Children, Boston, Mass, underwent detailed developmental assessments, anthropometric measurements, and medical examinations. Results: The anthropometric measurements of the international adoptees were below the means for weight, height, and head circumference based on standards of the World Health Organization. Only 65 children (50%) were developmentally normal. Gross motor delays were identified in 43 children (33%), fine motor delays in 52 (40%), language delays in 23 (18%), cognitive delays in 21 (16%), and global delays in 18 (14%). The severity of delays were related to z scores for weight, height, and head circumference. The 36 children with medical problems had lower z scores compared with healthy children and were more likely to have delayed development. Conclusions: Careful developmental and growth screening of internationally adopted children at entry into the United States identifies children in need of interventions and close follow-up. Longitudinal studies of internationally adopted children may provide evidence about the reversibility of growth and developmental delays, findings applicable to any environmentally deprived child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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