J Korean Soc Matern Child Health.  2020 Apr;24(2):96-101. 10.21896/jksmch.2020.24.2.96.

Growth and Nutritional Status of Children in North Korean Refugee Families

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Chosun University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea

Abstract

Purpose
This study assessed the growth and nutritional status of children in North Korean (NK) refugee families.
Methods
This study examined 301 children in NK refugee families. Their growth and nutritional status were estimated using the 2017 Korean National Growth Chart for Children and Adolescents. Stunting, being underweight, and wasting were defined as height-for-age (HAZ), weight-for-age (WAZ), and weight-for-height (WHZ) z -scores < –2.0, respectively.
Results
The overall prevalences of stunting, being underweight, and wasting were 7.6%, 5.6%, and 5.0%, respectively. In children living in South Korea for <5 years, the prevalences of stunting, being underweight, and wasting were 10.3%, 8.6%, and 3.4%, respectively, compared to 7.9%, 7.9%, and 0.0% for those living in South Korea for ≥5 years. The prevalences of WAZ and WHZ > 2.0 were 5.0% and 11.0%, respectively.
Conclusion
Children in NK refugee families still suffer serious malnutrition after settling in South Korea, although being overweight is emerging as a new problem.

Keyword

Democratic People's Republic of Korea; Refugees; Child; Nutritional Status
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