Is Fat Mass Accretion of Late Preterm Infants Associated with Insulin Resistance?

Nadia Liotto, Maria Lorella Giannì, Francesca Taroni, Paola Roggero, Chiara Cristiana Condello, Anna Orsi, Camilla Menis, Riccardo Bonfanti, Fabio Mosca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Late preterm infants show a major fat mass accretion from birth to term. The contribution of preterm birth to the development of the metabolic syndrome is still under investigation. Objectives: To evaluate body composition changes in late preterm infants during the first 3 months and to investigate their insulin sensitivity and resistance. Methods: We conducted an observational, longitudinal study. A total of 216 late preterm infants underwent body composition assessment using an air displacement plethysmograph at term and at 3 months of corrected age. In a subgroup of infants (n = 48) the blood glucose and insulin concentration were determined at term and insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance; HOMA-IR) and sensitivity (quantitative insulin sensitivity check index; QUICKI) were then calculated. The reference group comprised 71 healthy term infants. Results: The mean birth weight and gestational age were 2,390 ± 391 g and 35.2 ± 0.8 weeks, respectively. At term the fat mass index (kg/m2) of late preterm infants, born adequate for their gestational age and small for their gestational age, was higher than that of term infants (2.08 ± 0.82 vs. 1.62 ± 0.64 vs. 1.03 ± 0.36, p < 0.005, respectively), whereas at 3 months of corrected age no difference was found among the groups. The mean values of glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, and QUICKI were within the 5th and 95th percentiles. Conclusions: On the basis of these preliminary findings, fat mass accretion of late preterm infants appears not to be associated with perturbation of the glucose homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-359
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • Fat mass
  • Insulin
  • Late preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Biology


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