Skinfold Thickness of Preterm Newborns When They Become Late Preterm Infants

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Abstract

Background:

Nutrition of very low-birth-weight newborns is important for a good physical and neurologic outcome. Body composition assessment, together with anthropometric measurements, is considered necessary to monitor adequate nutrition and growth. Objectives of this study were to assess body fat changes in newborns ≤32 weeks gestation by weekly skinfold thickness (SFT) measurements and to compare them with those of late preterm infants born at 34, 35, and 36 weeks once they reached 34, 35, and 36 weeks corrected age (CA).

Materials and Methods:

Preterm infants ≤32 weeks gestation had SFT measured from 4 body sites, including biceps, triceps, and subscapulary and suprailiac regions, by a Holtain caliper starting from 48 hours of age at weekly intervals until 34, 35, and 36 weeks CA. The measurements were compared with those of late preterm controls born at 34, 35, and 36 weeks gestation.

Results:

There were 37 preterm infants in the patient group. When reaching 34, 35, and 36 weeks CA, preterm infants had higher SFT values compared with controls in all body sites. Median and range of total SFT were 14.6 mm (9.6–18.9 mm) in patients and 11 mm (7.8–16.4 mm) in controls at 34 weeks CA, 15.5 mm (10.7–21.8 mm) in patients and 12.3 mm (7–17 mm) in controls at 35 weeks CA, and 16.4 mm (11.8–23.7 mm) in patients and 12.9 mm (7–17.8 mm) in controls at 36 weeks CA (P = .001 in all). No sex difference was observed at 34 and 35 weeks.

Conclusion:

These results show that preterm infants start accumulating excess fat even from early weeks of life. Careful assessment of growth by tools other than simple anthropometric measurements is essential to avoid future complications. (Nutr Clin Pract. 2015;30:266–273)

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