Impact of Nutritional Status on Cognition in Institutionalized Orphans: A Pilot StudyCorrespondence Address :
Ms. Sanjana M. Kamath,
Undergraduate Student, A.J. Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kuntikana, NH-66, Mangalore-575004,
Introduction: Proper nutrition is critical for maximizing brain function and enhancing learning. There is accumulating evidence that early malnutrition, marked by stunting, is associated with long-term deficits in cognitive and academic performance, even when social and psychological differences are controlled. All over the world, children living without permanent parental care are at a heightened risk for under-nutrition, putting their health and development in great jeopardy.
Aim: To assess the nutritional and cognitive status in institutionalized orphans which might help to formulate effective interventions for improving the nutritional status of vulnerable children in future.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional, case control study included 70 children (35 orphans and 35 non-orphans). Their anthropometric measurements (height, weight, and BMI) were measured and cognition was assessed using subsets of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R): Block design and Digit span. The data obtained was subjected to descriptive statistical analysis.
Results: 18.57% (13) of children had stunting, 15.71% (11) had wasting, 22.86% (16) were underweight, and 17.14% (12) showed thinness. MeanąSD of Block design in non-orphans was significantly higher compared to orphans (p-value 0·05). MeanąSD of Digit span in non-orphans was significantly higher compared to orphans (p-value 0·000). For Block design, there was moderate positive correlation with nutritional status based on Z-scores (p-value <0·05). Digit span also showed moderate positive correlation (p-value <0·05).
Conclusion: The results of our study indicate that children in orphanages have high rates of both malnutrition and cognitive delay compared to the non-orphans and there was a direct correlation between both the variables. If orphanages are here to stay as a last resort for children deprived of a family there is an urgent need to improve the institutional environment in order to foster the development of millions of children in orphanages around the world.
Block design, Digit span, Nutrition, Z-scores
Sanjana M Kamath, Kavana G Venkatappa, Ergod manjunath Sparshadeep. IMPACT OF NUTRITIONAL STATUS ON
COGNITION IN INSTITUTIONALIZED ORPHANS: A
PILOT STUDY. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research [serial online] 2017 March [cited: 2017 Apr 28 ]; 11:CC01-CC04. Available from
Date of Submission: Jul 15, 2016
Date of Peer Review: Aug 04, 2016
Date of Acceptance: Nov 30, 2016
Date of Publishing: Mar 01, 2017
Financial OR OTHER COMPETING INTERESTS: None.
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