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J Pediatr. 2000 May;136(5):633-40.

Growth of adolescents who were born at extremely low birth weight without major disability.

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  • 1Division of General Pediatrics, the Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35233, USA.



To compare growth between adolescents who were born at extremely low birth weight (ELBW, </=1000 g) and adolescents who were born at normal birth weight (NBW, >/=2500 g).


Cross-sectional design. Fifty-three ELBW and 53 NBW adolescents without a major neurodevelopmental disability were matched by sex, race, age, and socioeconomic status. Anthropometrics (z scores), bone age, body composition (Lunar DPX-L densitometry), and sexual maturity were assessed. ELBW adolescents were classified as being born small for gestational age (SGA) or not (NSGA).


Subjects were 58.5% female, 43.4% black, and 56.6% white. The mean birth weight for ELBW subjects was 849 g and 3355 g for NBW subjects. The mean age was 14.85 years. On average, ELBW adolescents were 4.8 cm shorter and 9.1 kg lighter than NBW adolescents. ELBW adolescents had lower mean z scores for height (P <.0001), weight (P <.0001), and head circumference (P <.0001) than NBW adolescents. ELBW/SGA subjects had lower mean z scores for height (P <.0001) and weight (P =.001) than NBW subjects. Head circumference z scores were lower for the ELBW/SGA group than the ELBW/NSGA group or the NBW group (P =. 003). Sexual maturity and relative body composition were similar between groups. Bone age, measured in SD units, was more advanced in the ELBW group (0.86 vs. 0.42, P =.039).


ELBW adolescents who survive without a major neurodevelopmental disability attain lower growth measurements compared with NBW adolescents but have similar sexual maturation and relative body composition.

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