A semilongitudinal study on growth and development was initiated on immigrant and refugee school-aged children in San Francisco. Anthropometric values (height, weight, arm circumference, and triceps and subscapular skinfolds) were collected soon after their arrival in the United States and repeated at 3-month intervals for 1 year. Data were analyzed by age-gender cohorts. z Score calculations for measures of height-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height demonstrated a significant overall deficiency in height-for-age and weight-for-age at the time of the first measurement. Comparisons with a US standard indicated that most of the children were between the fifth and 25th percentiles in these measures. There were fewer children who were significantly deficient in weight-for-height. Calculations for median growth rate indicated that most cohorts exhibited a median growth velocity that was close to or exceeded the median for US white children. There was also significant improvement in weight-for-age. The results indicated that these immigrant and refugee children accelerated their growth markedly in an optimum nutritional environment and were in a period of catch-up growth.

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