Lean body mass in small for gestational age and appropriate for gestational age infants

J Pediatr. 1988 Nov;113(5):886-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(88)80025-8.


Dual photon absorptiometry using 153Gd in a whole-body scanner was used to measure lean body mass (LBM) in 51 newborn infants. LBM% decreased exponentially with increasing gestational age in both small for gestational age (SGA) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants. In preterm SGA and AGA infants LBM was 104% and 103%, respectively, indicating that no fat was detectable. In term SGA infants LBM was 98%, which corresponded to 48 gm fat on average, and in term AGA infants LBM was 87%, which corresponded to 452 gm fat on average. The LBM%, ponderal index, and skinfold thickness were significantly different between AGA and SGA infants. Infants with clinical signs of intrauterine wastage had significantly higher LBM% than did infants without signs of weight loss. Our results on LBM% by dual photon absorptiometry agree with earlier dissection data; the clinically applicable methods of (1) height combined with weight (i.e., ponderal index), (2) skinfold thickness, and (3) scoring by clinical observations are useful for the estimation of lack of fat as an indicator of intrauterine growth retardation.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnosis*
  • Gadolinium
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / growth & development*
  • Pregnancy
  • Radioisotopes
  • Skinfold Thickness


  • Radioisotopes
  • Gadolinium