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Growth Horm IGF Res. 2004 Jun;14 Suppl A:S136-9.

The metabolic consequences of prematurity.

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Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, 2-6 Park Avenue, Auckland, New Zealand.


An association between low birth weight, commonly a reflection of an adverse in utero environment, and the subsequent development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension in later life is now generally accepted - as is an association between an adverse perinatal environment and a permanent reduction in insulin sensitivity. This and other metabolic abnormalities have been demonstrated from childhood through to adulthood in subjects who were born full-term but small for gestational age (SGA). Less is known about children born prematurely into an adverse neonatal environment. We present data demonstrating that premature infants also have metabolic abnormalities similar to those observed in full-term, SGA children, and that these occur irrespective of whether the premature infants are SGA or appropriate for gestational age (AGA).

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