Information on the likelihood of catch up growth in poorly grown very low birthweight children is sparse. The centiles for weight, height, and head circumference were recorded at both 2 and 5 years of age for 135 very low birthweight children and 42 normal birthweight children. At both ages significantly more children of very low birth weight were under the 10th centile for weight and height. Children of birth weight under 1000 g were more often under the 10th centile for weight at 5 years compared with those of birth weight 1000-1500 g. Mean incremental weight gain between 2 and 5 years was significantly less for very low birthweight children. Mean increment in weight from 2 to 5 years was less for very low birthweight children who had been under the 10th centile for weight at 2 years; children who had been under the 10th centile for height also had lower mean height increments. The growth centiles achieved by 2 years of age were useful predictors of poor growth at 5 years, with perinatal data of marginal importance. Only six of 43 (14%) children with a weight at 5 years of age under the 10th centile were small for gestational age at birth. Very low birthweight children who had a weight or height under the 10th centile at 2 years of age usually remained in this category at 5 years with no evidence of catch up growth.
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