Postnatal malnutrition of extremely low birth-weight infants with catch-up growth postdischarge

J Perinatol. 2003 Sep;23(6):477-82. doi: 10.1038/


Objective: To assess nutritional intakes and subsequent growth of extremely low birth-weight (BW) infants.

Study design: Chart review of 69 extremely low BW infants stratified into two groups by BW: < or =750 g (group 1; n=27) or 751 to 1000 g (group 2; n=42). Dietary intakes, weights, and head circumferences (HC) were collected through discharge and at 1 month postdischarge. The differences between goals and intakes were calculated weekly during hospitalization. Descriptive comparisons were made between growth parameters at birth, discharge, and follow-up.

Results: Total energy and protein deficits were inversely related to BW. Both groups exhibited extrauterine growth retardation while hospitalized. After discharge, the rates of weight gain and HC growth increased, leading to some growth recovery at follow-up.

Conclusions: Existing feeding methods resulted in sizeable deficits in energy and protein, particularly for the smallest infants. Changing current practices to limit these deficits is essential to improving postnatal growth.

MeSH terms

  • Energy Intake
  • Growth*
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Weight Gain