Background Early aggressive nutrition followed by enriched preterm style enteral feeding is considered the standard of care in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and results in good neurological outcome. However there are concerns whether preterms accumulate excess fat during NICU stay.
Aim Aim of this study was to compare skinfold thickness of preterms when they reached 35 weeks corrected age (CA) with that of 35 week born controls.
Methods Appropriate for gestational age (AGA) preterms born ≤32 weeks gestational age (GA) had skinfold thickness measured from 5 body sites by using Holtain caliper at 35 weeks CA as well as weight, length, head circumference (HC) and ponderal index (PI), results were compared with gender matched AGA near term controls born at 35 weeks gestation with nonparametric tests. Data are expressed as median and range.
Results 26 preterms (10 males GA:30.5 w (28–31), BW: 1500g (1040–1700)), 16 females GA:29 w (25–32), BW: 985g (610–1800)) were compared to 20 controls (10 males BW:2175g (1837–2356), 10 females BW: 2115g (1815–2362)).Skinfold thickness measured from triceps, biceps, subscapular, suprailiac and midtigh regions were significantly higher in patients compared to controls both in girls and boys (Figure 1.2). However weight, length, HC and PI were similar.
Conclusion Enriched feeding with increased protein and calories is essential for preterms during NICU stay however the way we do it does not seem to lead to in utero body composition which is considered ideal.