Introduction Increasing evidence indicates that prematurity as well as early undernutrition and growth pattern can influence body composition in later stages of life in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants.
Objective To evaluate the influence of undernourishment at 36 weeks postconceptional age (PA) on body composition at 6 months and 1 year corrected age in VLBW infants.
Methods Eighty VLBW preterm (<34 weeks of gestational age) and 34 full-term infants were studied. VLBW infants were classified as undernourished (n = 41) or adequately nourished (n = 39) according to their weight z-score at 36 weeks PA. Fat mass (FM) and percentage of total body water were measured by dual x ray absorptiometry and bioimpedance analysis, respectively. FM was standarised for height to calculate the fat mass index as for weight to calculate the FM percentage (see table for results).
Conclusion Whereas the effect of prematurity and early undernutrition on body composition is evident at 6 months, only early neonatal undernutrition but not prematurity is the major determinant of changes in FM at 1 year in VLBW infants.