Higher Energy, Lipid, and Carbohydrate Provision to Very Low‐Birth‐Weight Infants Is Differentially Associated With Neurodevelopment at 18 Months, Despite Consistent Improvements in Weight Gain Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractBackgroundThe impact of suboptimal intakes on neurodevelopment of very low‐birth‐weight (VLBW, <1500 g) infants, particularly those born small for gestational age, <26 weeks, <1000 g, or with morbidities is not well defined. We investigated how macronutrient/energy intakes are associated with growth and neurodevelopment among VLBW infants, adjusted for the aforementioned vulnerabilities. Our hypothesis was that higher nutrient intakes would be positively associated with weight gain and neurodevelopment.MethodsDaily macronutrient/energy intakes and weekly weights from birth until 36+0 weeks were collected prospectively from VLBW infants (n = 302) enrolled in a previous trial (ISRCTN35317141). Neurodevelopment was assessed by the Bayley‐III at 18 months’ corrected gestational age. Relationships between quartiles of macronutrient/energy intakes, growth, and neurodevelopment were assessed.ResultsInfants born <1000 g, <26 weeks, or with morbidities had lower nutrient intakes and slower growth than infants born ≥1000 g, ≥26 weeks, or with no morbidities, respectively (P < 0.05). Higher quartiles of energy, lipid, and carbohydrate intakes were positively associated with growth velocity (P = <0.0001–0.007); no association was observed for protein intake. Energy, protein‐to‐energy ratio and lipid intakes were associated with cognitive scores (P = 0.001–0.004); however, intakes within the second and third quartiles were generally associated with the highest cognitive scores. No nutrient intakes were associated with language or motor scores across the entire study period.ConclusionSmaller, more immature VLBW infants and those with morbidity have the greatest risk of poor nutrition and growth. Increasing macronutrient/energy intakes are generally associated with improved weight gain, but not necessarily improved neurodevelopment.


  • Bishara, Rosine
  • Asbury, Michelle R
  • Ng, Dawn VY
  • Bando, Nicole
  • Ng, Eu-gene
  • Unger, Sharon
  • O'Connor, Deborah L

publication date

  • November 2021