Original Article

Trends in Anthropometric Measurements of Internationally Adopted Children

Authors: Samantha L. Hanna, MD, MPH, Meghan E. Hofto, MD, MPH, Mary M. Orr, MD, MPH, Carin Kiser, MD, AKM Fazlur Rahman, PhD, Adolfo L. Molina, MD, MSHQS


Objective: The objective of this study was to describe anthropometric measures from internationally adopted children. Internationally adopted children are at risk for poor growth and development and there is no standardized growth chart evaluation for internationally adopted children due to variations in growth, genetics, and environmental exposures.

Methods: This is a retrospective chart review of 882 patients seen in an international adoption clinic between 2010 and 2017. Anthropometric measurements were converted to Z scores for weight, height, head circumference, and body mass index.

Results: A total of 41 countries and 16 subregions were represented. Central America, northern Africa, southern Africa, and southern Europe were the only subregions that had positive mean Z scores for weight, and southeast Asia had the lowest mean Z score for weight (n = 40, −1.76). No subregion had a positive mean Z score for height, and western Asia had the lowest overall mean Z score for height (n = 2, −2.44). Mean Z score for body mass index was positive in several subregions.

Conclusions: Growth is an important predictor of health and development, and this study adds to the literature on growth patterns of internationally adopted children.

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