Table of Contents

HK J Paediatr (New Series)
Vol 5. No. 1, 2000

HK J Paediatr (New Series) 2000;5:15-24

Original Article

Report-Survey on the Childhealth Status of Chinese New Immigrant: July-October 1998

CB Chow, K Tse


During the period 8 July to 10 October 1998, 457 new immigrant children from China were recruited mainly within 2 weeks of their arrival to Hong Kong to undergo an examination on their physical health status. Their mean age was 8.8 years with 58.2% between 8 and 13 years of age. Overall, one in two children had a medical condition that may require medical attention. The nutritional status was generally good though they tended to be lighter in weight, shorter in stature than the Hong Kong counterpart. Obesity was found in 11.5% and 7.0% of boys and girls respectively using weight-for-height of >120% of median. But using body mass index (BMI) obesity occurred in only 1% of children. Information on the vaccination status was unavailable in about half of the cases. Blood testing revealed that 9%, 50% and 20% of them were susceptible to measles, rubella and mumps respectively. No children under 7 years of age carried hepatitis B surface antigen but 13.2% of those older than 7 years had the antigen. About 75% had antibodies against hepatitis B surface antigen. Tuberculosis was uncommon. Two had history of TB infection and 13% had positive skin test against tuberculosis. 18.1% and 2.6% of children had a blood lead level of > 0.47 μmol/L and > 0.71 μmol/L respectively. Over 93% showed a decrease in blood lead level 2-3 months after coming to Hong Kong. None required medical treatment except for counselling on avoidance of risk factors. Severe anaemia was found in two children and both needed urgent treatment. About 15% of children were infested with worms. This was particularly common in children aged between 4 and 9 years. About half of the children needed referral for medical management. However, about 20% of the children returned to China soon after their arrival in Hong Kong. For public health purposes and for the health of this significant portion of future Hong Kong generation it would seem prudent to ensure all new immigrant children to a) receive full vaccination b) have appropriate physical check up and c) receive appropriate health education at their first entry to Hong Kong.

Keyword : Health status; Immigrant children; Lead poisoning

Abstract in Chinese


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