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Fetal growth restriction: relation to growth and obesity at the age of 9 years


Objective: To assess growth patterns of 9-year-old children, some of whom had intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Method: 75 9-year-old children (41 were IUGR infants) were weighed and measured at birth, at 1 year, at 2 years and at 9 years of age. Using general linear models for continuous data, changes in weight z scores were used to quantify growth rate between birth and 9 years of age.

Results: IUGR children were smaller at birth (weight z score –2.1 v 0.2 in normal children; p<0.001) but showed a greater increase in their weight between birth and 9 years (change of weight z score 1.5 v 0.4 in normal children; p = 0.001). At the age of 9 years the weight, height and body mass index (BMI) z scores were lower in IUGR children than the control children (weight z score –0.4 v 0.6, respectively; p<0.001, height z score –0.5 v 0, respectively; p = 0.002, BMI z score −0.2 v 0.7, respectively; p = 0.002). The predictors of these differences were IUGR, birth weight and maternal and paternal heights.

Conclusion: IUGR infants grow faster but remain shorter and lighter than their normal counterparts—that is, they fail to fully catch up by 9 years of age.

  • child
  • intrauterine growth restriction
  • postnatal growth
  • catch-up growth

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