Eight-year school performance and growth of preterm, small for gestational age infants: a comparative study with subjects matched for birth weight or for gestational age

J Pediatr. 1990 Jan;116(1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)81639-7.


Eight-year school performance and growth outcome are reported for three groups of preterm infants: one group that was small for gestational age (SGA; 36 infants) and two comparison groups that were appropriate in size for gestational age, one matched for birth weight and the other for gestational age. The subjects all had white parents whose mother tongue was English and were matched for gender, mother's height, mother's education, and father's socioeconomic status (Blishen Scale). A comparison peer group of term infants was also studied. The three preterm groups did not differ in school performance or physical growth, with the exception of head circumference, which was smaller in the SGA children. All preterm groups had growth measures, intellectual and visual-motor integration scores, reading and arithmetic grade levels, and behavior rating levels significantly inferior to those of the peer group. Receptive vocabulary scores and spelling grade levels did not differ between the preterm groups and the peer group. On multivariate analyses, mother's education was the primary predictor of academic grade levels for the preterm SGA group, and the only predictor when the disabled children were excluded from analyses. Preterm SGA children without disabilities had academic scores similar to those of their term peers, but their scores indicated more hyperactivity. Intrauterine growth retardation did not appear to impose a disadvantage on the preterm children in this study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Anthropometry
  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / growth & development
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / physiology*
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reading