Length Normalized Indices for Fat Mass and Fat-Free Mass in Preterm and Term Infants during the First Six Months of Life
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OBJECTIVE: Postnatal tissue accretion in preterm infants differs from those in utero, affecting body composition (BC) and lifelong morbidity. Length normalized BC data allows infants with different body lengths to be compared and followed longitudinally. This study aims to analyze BC of preterm and term infants during the first six months of life. METHODS: The BC data, measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, of 389 preterm and 132 term infants from four longitudinal studies were combined. Fat-mass/length² (FMI) and fat-free mass/length² (FFMI) for postmenstrual age were calculated after reaching full enteral feeding, at term and two further time points up to six months corrected age. RESULTS: Median FMI (preterm) increased from 0.4 kg/m² at 30 weeks to 2.5, 4.3, and 4.8 kg/m² compared to 1.7, 4.7, and 6 kg/m² in term infants at 40, 52, and 64 weeks, respectively. Median FFMI (preterm) increased from 8.5 kg/m² (30 weeks) to 11.4 kg/m² (45 weeks) and remained constant thereafter, whereas term FFMI remained constant at 11 kg/m² throughout the tested time points. CONCLUSION: The study provides a large dataset of length normalized BC indices. Followed longitudinally, term and preterm infants differ considerably during early infancy in the pattern of change in FMI and FFMI for age.
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