10 Nov Lipids in Gradeschool Children: Association with Birth Weight
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Mullett: The unique findings in this study relate to differences in triglycerides (TG) in premature infants and small for gestational age (SGA) infants when in 5th grade, at which time the children are approximately 11 years old. Premature infants have higher triglyceride levels in 5th grade than term infants.(p<.05) This difference appears in those premature infants who become overweight/obese by this age, but this reaches only a trend level. (p=.058) SGA infants who become overweight/obese by 5th grade (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) have TG that are significantly higher than all other 5th grade groups.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Mullett: These differences in TG levels were unexpected. There are no reports of serum lipids in children analyzing their birth characteristics. The literature has reports of higher cardiovascular disease in adults who were born low birth weight with some studies pointing to prematurity as the cause and others emphasizing small for gestational age issues as the etiology of the low birth weight. With our dataset which has gestational age and birth, we have determined abnormalities in both premature infants and small for gestational age infants in TG. There are similar changes in very low density lipoproteins.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Mullett: Size at birth due to either premature or small for gestational birth categories can lead to abnormalities in TG in adolescence children who become overweight. The average birth weight in both of these groups is approximately 2.5 kg which is not considered particularly small by present NICU standards.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Mullett: Term delivery is preferable. Near term deliveries are still premature births and may have long standing impacts on health that are just now being elucidated.
Obesity has serious implications which are exaggerated in children who were preterm or small for gestational age even when their birth weights were relatively large at 2.5 kg.