Executive summary: evaluation of the evidence to support practice guidelines for nutritional care of preterm infants—the Pre-B Project1–4

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Abstract

Preterm birth (infants born at <37 wk of gestational age) is a significant clinical and public health challenge in the United States and globally. No universally accepted practice guidelines exist for the nutritional care of preterm infants. To address the current state of knowledge and to support systematic reviews that will be used to develop evidence-informed guidance, a consortium consisting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ASN, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC, the USDA/Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS), and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/NIH initiated the Pre-B Project. The project included the constitution of 4 thematic working groups charged with the following tasks: 1) develop a series of topics/questions for which there is sufficient evidence to support a systematic review process to be conducted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library (EAL), leading to the development of new guidelines for nutritional care of preterm infants, and 2) develop a targeted research agenda to address priority gaps in our understanding of the role of nutrition in the health and development of preterm/neonatal intensive care unit infants. This review consists of a project overview including a summary of a workshop hosted by the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center and summary reports of the 4 working groups established to address the following themes: 1) nutrient specifications, 2) clinical/practical issues in enteral feeding, 3) gastrointestinal and surgical issues, and 4) current standards for assessing infant feeding outcomes. These reports will serve as the basis for the ultimate guideline development process to be conducted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ EAL.

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