Diet and Nutrient Intake in Young Adults Born Preterm at Very Low Birth Weight

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To assess dietary intake in young adults born preterm at very low birth weight (VLBW) (≤1500 g).

Study design

We studied 151 young adults aged 19-27 years who were born at VLBW and 156 term-born controls, group-matched for age, sex, and birth hospital. Participants completed a 3-day food record, which was checked by a nutritionist. Food and nutrient intakes were calculated with use of a dietary analysis program. Data were analyzed by multiple linear regression, adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, height, living at parental home, daily smoking, and highest parental education.


Compared with controls, VLBW subjects had lower mean (SD) daily intake of vegetables, fruits, and berries (183 [150] g vs 241 [168] g, P = .002] and milk products (343 [242] g vs 427 [316] g, P = .003). Energy intake from carbohydrates, protein, and fat was similar, as was salt intake. VLBW participants had lower daily intake of calcium (858 [389] mg vs 1080 [514] mg, P < .0001), vitamin D (3.7 [2.6] μg vs 4.4 [3.6] μg, P = .02), and cholesterol (189 [74] mg vs 227 [105] mg, P = .002], whereas intake of essential fatty acids was higher (4.3 [1.5] mg vs 4.0 [1.5] mg, P = .01).


Lower consumption of vegetables, fruits, berries, and milk products combined with lower calcium and vitamin D intake in VLBW participants offers a target for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases in persons of VLBW.

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