Korean J Community Nutr.  2012 Aug;17(4):407-418. 10.5720/kjcn.2012.17.4.407.

Comparison of Food and Nutrient Consumption Status between Displaced North Korean Children in South Korea and South Korean Children

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Inha University, Incheon, Korea. skleenutrition@inha.ac.kr


Many displaced North Koreans (NK) are living in South Korea (SK); however nutrition research with the displaced NK is limited. This study examined food and nutrient consumption status of displaced NK children (6-18 year-old) currently living in SK. A total of 154 children were recruited, and a pre-tested dietary behavior questionnaire, food frequency questionnaire, 24-hr recall method were used. Sex- and age-matched SK children (n = 462) randomly selected from 2009-2010 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used as the comparison group. This study found that more NK children skipped breakfast (37%) and dinner (11%), and ate breakfast (38.8%) and dinner (18.2%) without family members than SK children. Many NK children reported that they rarely ate bread, rice cake, hamburger, pizza, fried food, candy. NK children consumed significantly less energy and nutrients (except calcium) and obtained more energy from fat and protein than SK children. Overall index of nutrient quality in NK children, however, was generally good. Length of stay in SK and breakfast skipping rates were significantly associated with lower diet quality. Therefore, nutrition education with displaced NK children should target those who recently came to SK. How to incorporate "new" foods, generally high in energy, sugar, or fat, in healthy ways and importance of breakfast should be emphasized. The growth patterns of the displaced NK children who were born and raised in food-deprived environments and will grow in food-affluent environments of SK should be monitored for health promotion of the NK children and for nutrition policy of the future united Korea.


Displaced North Korean children; South Korea; food; nutrition; migration
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