OBJECTIVES: Aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that the body composition of small for gestational age preterm infants, assessed at term equivalent age, was different as compared to that of small for gestational age full-term newborns. METHODS: Growth parameters and body composition, assessed by means of an air displacement pediatric plethysmography system, was measured in 120 newborns (67 preterm and 53 full-term). RESULTS: Similar weight was found in preterm and full-term newborns at term equivalent age and at birth, respectively. On the contrary, percentage of total body fat mass was significantly higher in preterm newborns as compared to full-term newborns (14.3 +/- 4.7% vs. 5.7 +/- 3.8% respectively, P <0.05). In the preterm group gestational age was negatively associated with total fat mass at term equivalent age. CONCLUSIONS. The preterm newborns, especially if born small for gestational age, appear to be at risk for developing an altered body composition, which is a risk factor for the development of the metabolic syndrome in adult life. Preterm infants, born small for gestational age, appear to develop a quantity of fat mass higher than the adipose tissue they would have accumulated if they had completed their intrauterine gestation. The gestational age and the nutritional management in the early postnatal life could play a key role in affecting the body composition in these vulnerable infants.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Pediatria Medica e Chirurgica|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health