AIM: To measure total energy expenditure and body composition in small for gestational age (SGA) infants in order to investigate proposed hypermetabolism in such babies. METHODS: A cross sectional study of 52 SGA infants measured at 5 weeks of age was made, using existing data from appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants as controls. The double labelled water technique was used to assess both total energy expenditure and body composition. RESULTS: Multiple regression analysis showed that expressing energy expenditure per kg fat free mass adjusts for body composition in infants of this age. The relation between total energy expenditure and fat free mass differed between the two groups. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that for a given fat free mass the total energy expenditure of SGA infants is greater than that of AGA infants. Such data should be taken into account when energy requirements for SGA infants are being considered.
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