Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Clinical Nutrition



Committee Chair

Sara Foley

Committee Member

Yufeng Zhang

Committee Member

Michelle Miller

Committee Member

Tracy Bruen


Background: The nutrition status of children living in social welfare institutions has not been well defined, yet it is estimated that there are at least two million children residing in these organizations. Previous research suggests that incidence of malnutrition is more frequent within this population. Without intervention, side effects of malnutrition can result in permanent impairments such as mental impairment, developmental delay, and low quality of life. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the nutrition status of children residing in social welfare organizations over the course of three months. Participants/Setting: 108 children residing in social welfare institutions in China, ages 2 to 13 years, were included in this retrospective analysis. Main Outcome Measures: Evaluation of nutrition status was measured based on height-for-age, weight-for-age, body mass index-for-age, and weight-for-length z-scores which were subsequently translated into the World Health Organization’s classifications for stunting, underweight status, and wasting. Average difference between z-scores was measured at the initial and 90-day assessment marker. Hemoglobin, indicating anemia, was measured as an as an additional factor of nutrition status. Statistical Analyses Performed: The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was used to assess change in z-scores at the initial and 90-day assessment. Change in stunting, underweight status, wasting and anemia classification was measured using the McNemar’s test. A p value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: At their initial assessment, 46.5% of children were stunted, 42.9% were classified as underweight, and 20.6% demonstrated signs of wasting. There were no significant changes in average z-scores; however, there was significant change in average hemoglobin concentration and number of children classified as underweight, wasted, or anemic between assessments. Conclusion: Prevalence of stunting and underweight status is high for children living in social welfare institutions in China. The unsubstantial amount of nutritional change indicates that nutrition interventions need to be prioritized in these organizations to prevent consequences of chronic malnutrition


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.