Diet and bone mineral content at term in premature infants

Pediatr Res. 2000 Jan;47(1):148-56. doi: 10.1203/00006450-200001000-00025.


Premature infants are at risk of developing metabolic bone disease mainly because of low calcium and phosphorus intake. We have examined the effect of different mineral supplements on bone mineral content at term in 127 premature infants with gestational age <32 wk in a double-blinded randomized trial. We used either phosphate supplementation of human milk as recommended by the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition or fortified supplementation with protein, calcium, and phosphorus or preterm formula as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The intervention period was from 1 week old until 36 wk of gestational age, and the infants were fed approximately 200 mL x kg(-1) x d(-1). Bone mineral content was measured at term by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan. Surprisingly, neither phosphate, fortifier, nor preterm formula supplementation had any significant effect on bone mineral content at term compared with infants fed their own mother's milk only. There was a tendency to higher total bone mineral content in infants fed preterm formula compared with infants fed their own mother's milk only (p = 0.05), but when the bone mineral content was corrected for the size of the infant, there was no difference (p = 0.68). Infants fed preterm formula had a significantly higher weight at term compared with infants fed their own mother's milk only (p = 0.02), but did not differ significantly in length or head circumference. In a regression analysis, the amount of supplemented phosphorus was significantly associated with weight at term (p = 0.008). We conclude that when feeding 200 mL x kg(-1) x d(-1), mineral supplementation of human milk or use of preterm formula does not significantly improve bone mineralization outcome at term.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Birth Weight
  • Bone Density*
  • Diet*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Milk, Human
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care


  • Minerals