Growth, nutritional, and developmental status of young children living in orphanages in kazakhstan

Mary O. Hearst, John H Himes, Dana E Johnson, Maria Kroupina, Aigul Syzdykova, Musa Aidjanov, T. Sharmonov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This article describes the nutritional and developmental status of young children living in Baby Houses (orphanages for children ages 0-3 years) in Kazakhstan. In 2009/2010, 308 children under age 3 years living in 10 Baby Houses were measured for height/length and weight. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development (N. Bayley, 2006) were used to assess mental and motor development. Blood was collected on a subsample to assess key nutritional factors. The World Health Organization growth charts were used to calculate Z-scores. Cut points for wasting (moderate to severe low weight for length/height growth), underweight (low weight for age), stunting (low length/height for age), development, and biomarkers used established guidelines. Most (n = 286) children had complete data on z-scores. Of these, 22.1% were experiencing wasting, 31.5% were underweight, and 36.7% had stunting. The nutritional status of the children, based on blood biomarkers, revealed that 37.1% of the children were anemic, 21.4% had low albumin, 38.1% had low vitamin D, 5.5% were iodine-deficient, and 2% had low serum zinc. One half had mild to significant mental and motor delays. Children living at these Baby Houses in Kazakhstan have substantial nutritional deficits and developmental delays. Focused attention is needed to provide a nutritionally enhanced diet and improved developmental opportunities to improve the long-term outcomes for these children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


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