Objective: To evaluate the influence of medical complications, gestational age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on the changes in anthropometric measures and severity of neurologic impairment from 6 to 54 months of age in premature and term infants.
Study design: This study was a prospective longitudinal study to determine predictors of patterns of growth and neurologic outcome in low-risk (n=137) and high-risk (n=96) preterm infants compared to full-term infants (n=136). Growth modeling analyses were used to evaluate factors that might influence patterns of physical growth and changes in neurologic status.
Results: Medical risk level was a predictor of height and head circumference at 30 months and neurologic outcome. Gender was a predictor of weight gain. Medical risk level and gender predicted 13.8% and 32% of the variance in head circumference and neurologic scores, respectively.
Conclusion: Medical complications after birth and gender are stronger influences than gestational age on patterns of growth and neurologic outcome.