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Acta Paediatr. 2017 Feb 16. doi: 10.1111/apa.13788. [Epub ahead of print]

Improving nutritional practices in premature infants can increase their growth velocity and the breastfeeding rates.

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  • 1Neonatology department, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.



This study analysed the changes in growth velocity (GV) of preterm infants weighing less than 1,500g based on different nutritional practices over a 24-year period.


A retrospective study with prospectively collected data was performed in a level three Spanish neonatal intensive care unit. Data on birth weight, gestational age (GA) and GV were collected from 1990 to 2013 and breastfeeding data was gathered from 2000. A generalised linear model corrected by GA and small for gestational age was applied. Multiple mean comparisons between the levels of the variables of interest were performed using the Tukey test.


We included 1,651 children in the study. The average GA in 1990-1991 was 30.48 ± 2.89 and the average GA in 2012-2013 was 28.79 ± 2.58 (p <0.01). Significant differences were found when we compared the adjusted GV between the first and last study periods. The most important differences appeared between 1990 and 2013, when the GV increased by 3.27 ± 0.5g/kg/day (p<0.01). The breastfeeding rate in 2000-2001 was 47.95% and in 2012-2013 it was 73.58% (p = 0.0002).


Introducing nutritional practices such as the increased use of breast milk and the breastfeeding rate improved GV over the study period. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


breast milk; breastfeeding rate; growth velocity; nutritional practices; preterm infant

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