Adults born at very low birth weight exercise less than their peers born at term

J Pediatr. 2010 Oct;157(4):610-6, 616.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 May 20.


Objective: To study the effects of very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g) birth on physical activity, an important protective and modifiable factor.

Study design: VLBW participants (n=163) with no major disability and 188 individuals born at term (mean age, 22.3 years; range, 18.5-27.1) completed a standardized questionnaire of physical activity.

Results: VLBW participants reported less leisure-time conditioning physical activity. They were 1.61-fold more likely to "not exercise much," 1.61-fold more likely to exercise infrequently (once a week or less), 2.75-fold more likely to exercise with low intensity (walking), and 3.11-fold more likely to have short exercise sessions (<30 minutes). The differences were present even in subjects with no history of bronchopulmonary dysplasia or asthma and were only slightly attenuated when adjusted for height, parental education, lean body mass, and percent body fat.

Conclusions: Unimpaired adults who were VLBW exercise less during their leisure time than adults born at term. Promoting physical activity may be particularly important in the VLBW population to counteract the risks of chronic disease in adult life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Exercise*
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Leisure Activities
  • Peer Group*
  • Young Adult