Objective: To compare growth between adolescents who were born at extremely low birth weight (ELBW, </=1000 g) and adolescents who were born at normal birth weight (NBW, >/=2500 g).
Design/methods: Cross-sectional design. Fifty-three ELBW and 53 NBW adolescents without a major neurodevelopmental disability were matched by sex, race, age, and socioeconomic status. Anthropometrics (z scores), bone age, body composition (Lunar DPX-L densitometry), and sexual maturity were assessed. ELBW adolescents were classified as being born small for gestational age (SGA) or not (NSGA).
Results: Subjects were 58.5% female, 43.4% black, and 56.6% white. The mean birth weight for ELBW subjects was 849 g and 3355 g for NBW subjects. The mean age was 14.85 years. On average, ELBW adolescents were 4.8 cm shorter and 9.1 kg lighter than NBW adolescents. ELBW adolescents had lower mean z scores for height (P <.0001), weight (P <.0001), and head circumference (P <.0001) than NBW adolescents. ELBW/SGA subjects had lower mean z scores for height (P <.0001) and weight (P =.001) than NBW subjects. Head circumference z scores were lower for the ELBW/SGA group than the ELBW/NSGA group or the NBW group (P =. 003). Sexual maturity and relative body composition were similar between groups. Bone age, measured in SD units, was more advanced in the ELBW group (0.86 vs. 0.42, P =.039).
Conclusions: ELBW adolescents who survive without a major neurodevelopmental disability attain lower growth measurements compared with NBW adolescents but have similar sexual maturation and relative body composition.