Objectives. This study analyzed growth and identified related medical condi
tions among refugee children in Massachusetts.
Methods. Between July 1995 and June 1998, 1825 refugee children were screen
ed. Variables included positive tuberculin (purified protein derivative; PP
D) test; dental abnormalities; pathogenic parasites; weight-for-age, height
-for-age, and weight-for-height z scores; and body mass index greater than
the 84th percentile.
Results. Of all the children, 21% had parasites, 62% had caries, and 25% ha
d a positive PPD reaction. Twelve percent overall and 28% younger than 2 ye
ars had anemia. Eight percent had height-for-age z scores less than -2, and
6% had weight-for-age z scores greater than +2. Of those aged I to 9 years
, 7% had weight-for-height z scores greater than +2. Weight-for-height z sc
ores less than -2 were concentrated among Africans and East Asians (both 8%
). Height-for-age z scores less than -2 were seen among African (13%), Near
Eastern (19%), and East Asian (30%) children. Weight-for-height z scores g
reater than +2 and body mass index greater than the 84th percentile were co
ncentrated among children from the former Yugoslavia (8% and 15%) and the f
ormer Soviet Union (8% and 14%).
Conclusions. Recently arrived refugee children have significant growth abno
rmalities. European refugees were overweight; those from developing countri
es had growth retardation.