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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2006 Mar;19(3):157-60.

Ponderal index for discrimination between symmetric and asymmetric growth restriction: percentiles for neonates from 30 weeks to 43 weeks of gestation.

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Pediatric Center, Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany.



The ponderal index describes body proportionality at birth thus distinguishing symmetric from asymmetric growth restriction. We aimed to develop ponderal index percentiles for preterm and term neonates born in a European population.


Auxologic data were obtained from neonates born from January 1990 to December 1998 from the datasets reported to the perinatal quality assurance system of the Federal State of Hesse, Germany. We excluded data from neonates with lethal malformations, with chromosomal aberrations, from multiple births, from neonates with uncertain gestational age, and from neonates of a gestational age of less than 30 completed weeks. We calculated the weekly 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, and 95th ponderal index percentile values.


A total of 480,841 neonates (233,662 females and 247,179 males) were included. Charts and tables of ponderal index values show percentiles for males, females, and for the total group. There were no significant differences between boys and girls.


Our data offer the ability to refer a neonate's body proportionality to updated percentiles. The percentiles allow the discrimination between symmetric and asymmetric growth restriction in preterm and term infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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