Cognitive and health-related outcomes after exposure to early malnutrition: The Leiden longitudinal study of international adoptees

Christie Schoenmaker, Femmie Juffer*, Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, Linda van den Dries, Mariëlle Linting, Anja van der Voort, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: We followed 190 internationally adopted children from infancy to young adulthood to examine the long-term consequences of early malnutrition on cognitive and health-related outcomes. Method: We measured birth weight and physical condition in infancy, IQ and somatic problems in middle childhood, adolescence and young adulthood; in young adulthood, socioeconomic success was also assessed. Results: Early malnutrition negatively affected IQ in middle childhood and to a lesser extent IQ in young adulthood, but a negative effect on socioeconomic success was absent. Higher levels of early malnutrition predicted more somatic problems in middle childhood. Conclusions: Variation in early malnutrition explains differences in cognitive and health-related outcomes, with early malnutrition predicting lower IQs in middle childhood and in young adulthood. Early malnutrition did however not negatively affect the young adult's socioeconomic success, indicating that early malnutrition may be compensated by later experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume48
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Early malnutrition
  • International adoption
  • IQ
  • Longitudinal
  • Socioeconomic success

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