Growth of adolescents who were born at extremely low birth weight without major disability

J Pediatr. 2000 May;136(5):633-40. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2000.104291.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Composition
  • Body Constitution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / growth & development
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Social Class