Adopted Children at Risk for Medical, Emotional Problems

But parents also are motivated to ensure they get the help they need, study finds

MONDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Adopted children are more likely than biological children to present a range of medical and emotional difficulties, according to a report published in the February supplemental issue of the journal Pediatrics. However, their adoptive parents also are motivated enough to provide the health care they need, the researchers found.

Matthew Bramlett, Ph.D., of the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues compared the health and well-being of both biological and adopted children using data from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health, a nationally representative telephone survey. The analysis included 2,303 adopted and 95,827 biological children.

Adopted children were more likely than biological children to live in a high-income, college-educated, English-speaking household; to be neither white, black, nor Hispanic; and to have been born outside of the United States. Adopted children also were more likely to have consistent health coverage, to have had preventative medical or dental visits in the last year, to be read to on a daily basis, to live in a non-smoking household, and to attend church weekly. Medically, these children were more likely to have moderate-to-severe health problems; to be asthmatic; to have emotional or behavioral problems, a learning disability, or a developmental delay; and to have repeated a grade.

"Pediatricians should expect to encounter more health problems among adopted children but should also expect adoptive parents to be motivated to ensure the good health and well-being of their children," the authors write.

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