Growth and development of children with low birth weight at their first birthday.

T P Teles, T Rodrigues, A Pereira, C Lopes, C Miguel, H Barros


The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the effect of low birthweight on growth and development at one year of age, in a cohort of infants born between March 1992 and March 1993 at Hospital de Famalicão. Information was obtained from 199 children, 89 low birthweight cases and 110 born with a normal (> or = 2500 g) weight. The infant mortality rate (56 vs 9 per 1000), the frequency of growth (32% vs 4%, p = 0.0000003) or developmental delay (30% vs 11%, p = 0.002) were significantly higher in low birthweight babies. However, all cases of developmental delay corresponded to minor impairments. At age one, children born with a normal weight presented mean higher values for weight (10.0 +/- 1.1 kg vs 9.2 +/- 1.2 kg; p = 0.000005), length (74.2 +/- 7.1 cm vs 72.9 +/- 3.1 cm, p = 0.0006) and head circumference (46.4 +/- 1.9 cm vs 45.8 +/- 1.6 cm; p = 0.004). Prenatal characteristics such as the planning of the pregnancy, gestational birth weight, diseases during the pregnancy, gestational age or twining, significantly affected development at one year of age, showing that delays can be prevented before a child is born. In addition, post-natal exposures, such as home conditions, energy and nutrient intake, or coping with vaccination schedules and the occurrence of diseases during the neonatal and post-neonatal periods were significantly associated to developmental delay.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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