Postnatal growth in children born small and appropriate for gestational age during the first years of life

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate growth pattern of small- and appropriate-for-gestationalage children and to identify prenatal and postnatal risk factors for short stature and development of components of metabolic syndrome. A total of 109 small- and 239 appropriate-for-gestational-age infants were enrolled in the study. Within 24 hours after birth and at 2, 5, 9, 12, 18, 24 months, and 6 years of age, anthropometric data were recorded for study children. Cord blood samples from study infants were collected, and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF), IGF-binding protein-3, and leptin levels were measured. Birth weight and height (P<0.001) and insulin-like growth factor-1, IGF-binding protein-3, and leptin levels (P<0.05) were lower in children born small for gestational age vs. children born appropriate for gestational age. At 2, 5, 12, 18, and 24 months and 6 years of age, children born small for gestational age remained shorter and weighed less (P<0.001). Waist-to-hip ratio, heart rate at 6 years of age and gain in body mass index from birth up to 6 years of age was higher in children born small for gestational age. Height gain during the first year of life was mainly influenced by birth length and target height. Maternal weight before pregnancy and cord leptin levels were the most significant factors influencing postnatal weight gain during the first years of life. Conclusions: During the first 6 years of life, children born small for gestational age remained shorter and lighter. A greater catch-up in body mass index and tendency towards central pattern of fat distribution during the first years of life might be predisposing factors for the development of long-term metabolic complications in these individuals.

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Valuniene, M., Danylaite, A., Kryziute, D., Ramanauskaite, G., Lašiene, D., Lašas, L., & Verkauskiene, R. (2009). Postnatal growth in children born small and appropriate for gestational age during the first years of life. Medicina, 45(1), 51–60. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina45010008

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