Objective: To determine the impact of preterm birth on health status (HS) development at the ages of 5 and 10 years in a cohort of children born before term.
Sample: Six hundred eighty-eight children, born in 1983 with a gestational age of <32 weeks and a birth weight of <1500 g.
Design: Prospectively collected HS variables, obtained from the parents, were analyzed in a longitudinal perspective by using principal component analyses.
Results: One third of the sample had minor to severe HS problems at both ages of measurement. One third had problems on one assessment only. The remainder of the sample had no HS problems at either age. The analyses grouped the HS variables into 3 combinations. Problems in basic functioning, such as mobility or speech, decreased with age. Negative moods substantially increased, and concentration problems increased slightly. Specifically at risk were preterm born children with handicaps, boys, and children who were small for gestational age.
Conclusion: According to the parents, one third of the cohort had no HS problems at either age. The pattern of HS problems of the preterm born children changed between 5 and 10 years of age.