- Twenty-five idiopathic developmentally delayed children between
two and ten years old were studied. A group of thirty non-delayed
children of like age and sex was used as a control. Dietary
information was collected for each subject via a 24-hour dietary
recall, a two-day diet record, and a food frequency crosscheck.
The dietaries were analyzed by computer for kilocalories, protein,
calcium, iron, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Zinc
was hand calculated from current literature values. Percentile values
were determined for energy and protein intakes per cm. of height by
using Beal's (1970) nutritional intake tables. The mineral and vitamin
intakes were compared with the 1974 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) and discussed as meeting the recommended allowances,
meeting two-thirds of the RDA, meeting one-third of the
RDA, or less.
Five anthropometric measurements: height (or length), weight,
head circumference, triceps fatfold, and upper arm circumference,
were taken on each child. A clinical observation was made to substantiate
accuracy of the measurements. The measurements were
plotted on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Growth
Charts (1976) and the Nellhaus (1968) head circumference charts to
obtain a percentile ranking. The Frisancho (1974) percentile tables
for triceps skinfold and upper arm circumference were used to rank
the last two measurements.
Data concerning socioeconomic status, degree of developmental
delay, medication, past and present feeding problems, and any
medical diagnoses were collected during the clinic visit.
There were no significant differences between the control
group and the developmentally delayed (experimental) group except
that the control children had larger head circumferences. The nutrients
consumed in least adequate amounts were iron, zinc, and
vitamin D. Otherwise the study population appeared to be well-nourished.
Individuals plotting at the high or low percentile
extremes are discussed.
All possible pairs between growth and nutritional variables were tested for relationships. Statistically significant correlations between
growth and dietary intake included: an association between
upper arm circumference and zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin
D intakes; height-for-age was associated with thiamin and vitamin
C intakes; weight-for-age was associated with iron and calcium intake.
No explanations were given for these correlations.
It was concluded that anthropometric plots were as useful for
screening developmentally delayed children at nutritional risk as
they were for screening the control children. It was felt that this
is probably due to the general mild delay of the experimental sample
and that a sample with more severe developmental delays could not
be efficiently screened by this method.