The influence of growth on development outcome in extremely low birthweight infants at 2 years of age

J Paediatr Child Health. 1999 Feb;35(1):37-41. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.1999.00309.x.


Objective: To determine if weight < 3rd and < 10th centile at 2 years in extremely low birthweight (ELBW) infants is associated with problems of development and motor skills, and whether this association is explained by perinatal risk status.

Methodology: One hundred and ninety-eight of 226 (88%) surviving ELBW infants born between January 1987 and December 1992 were assessed at 2 years corrected age. Children were classified as being at low perinatal risk (n = 128) or high perinatal risk (n = 70) for adverse developmental outcome based on perinatal risk factors. Weight at 2 years was classified as < 3rd, 3rd-9th or > or = 10th centile for age and gender. Development was assessed using the Griffiths Mental Developmental Scales and motor skills using the Neurosensory Motor Developmental Assessment (NSMDA).

Results: For the total study group weight centile was strongly related to General Quotient (GQ) and motor abilities. For children < 3rd percentile (n = 48) mean (GQ) was 90.4 (SD, 15.9), for children between the 3rd-9th percentile (n = 49) 91.5 (SD, 17.9), and for children > or = 10th percentile (n = 99) mean GQ was 99.8 (SD, 8.6). The association with mean GQ and NSMDA category occurred for the high-risk subgroup and became non-significant in the low-risk subgroup if neurologically abnormal children were excluded. Other perinatal risk factors, exposure to breast milk, level of maternal education, marital status and history of feeding problems or infections over the 2 years did not confound this association.

Conclusion: Low weight percentile at 2 years was related to adverse developmental outcome in ELBW infants at high perinatal risk or with neurological impairment, though minimal association was present for neurologically normal infants at low perinatal risk.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mothers / education
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain*