Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet. 2003 Mar 29;361(9363):1089-97.

Low nutrient intake and early growth for later insulin resistance in adolescents born preterm.

Author information

The MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Child Health, London, UK. <>



In animals, acceleration of neonatal growth is thought to increase the later propensity to insulin resistance and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, whereas slow growth as a consequence of undernutrition is thought to have a beneficial effect. To test this hypothesis in people, we measured fasting concentrations of 32-33 split proinsulin, a marker of insulin resistance, in adolescents born preterm who had participated in randomised intervention trials of neonatal nutrition, and in adolescents born at term.


We determined fasting 32-33 split proinsulin concentration in participants aged 13-16 years born preterm and randomised to receive a nutrient-enriched or lower-nutrient diet (n=216) or in a reference group born at term (n=61).


Fasting 32-33 split proinsulin concentration was greater in children given a nutrient-enriched diet (geometric mean 7.2 pmol/L, 95% CI 6.4-8.1) than in those given the lower-nutrient diet (5.9 pmol/L [5.2-6.4]; mean difference 20.6% [5.0-36.3]; p=0.01). Healthy babies born at term had similar fasting 32-33 split proinsulin concentrations (6.9 pmol/L; 6.0-8.2) to the nutrient-enriched group. In non-randomised analyses, fasting 32-33 split proinsulin concentration was associated with greater weight gain the first 2 weeks of life (13.2% [5.4-20.9] change per 100 g weight increase; p=0.001) independent of birthweight, gestation, neonatal morbidity, and demographic, anthropometric, and socioeconomic factors.


Our results suggest that relative undernutrition early in life in children born preterm may have beneficial effects on insulin resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center