Low birthweight is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in later life, but whether premature birth is also a risk factor for CVD has not been fully determined. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between gestational age and risk factors for CVD at school age.Methods:
Using medical check-up data of school children, the relationship between gestational age and height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and lipid profiles at ages 9 and 12 years were investigated in children born preterm and admitted to neonatal intensive care unit at birth (n = 182; 115 boys and 67 girls). These data were also compared between preterm small for gestational age (SGA) children and preterm appropriate for gestational age (AGA) children.Results:
Gestational age was positively associated with height, and inversely associated with systolic blood pressure at school age. Preterm SGA children were significantly shorter and lighter at 9 and 12 years of age compared with preterm AGA children, but there were no significant differences in any CVD risk factors between the groups.Conclusions:
In preterm infants, a shorter duration of gestation is associated with higher systolic blood pressure at school age.