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Fetal growth restriction and 18-year growth and nutritional status: Aboriginal birth cohort 1987–2007

Authors

  • Susan Sayers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Menzies School of Health Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia
    • Menzies School of Health Research, P.O. Box 41096, Casuarina, Northern Territory, Australia 0811
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  • Susan Mott,

    1. Centre for Chronic Disease, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland
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  • Gurmeet Singh

    1. Menzies School of Health Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia
    2. Northern Territory Clinical School, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia
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Abstract

The main objective of the work is to compare the growth and nutritional status of Australian Aboriginal term infants born with (n = 81) and without fetal growth restriction (n = 260). A prospective birth cohort study of 341 Aboriginal babies from the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia was recruited at birth (1987–1990) and re-examined at a mean age of 18.3 years (2006–2008) for outcome measures of growth and nutrition status. Those with growth restriction at birth were 3 cm shorter (P = 0.0026) and 9 kg lighter (P = 0.0001) with head circumferences 0.95 cm smaller (P = 0.0008) than those without growth restriction. The proportions of growth restricted participants with body mass index <18.5 kg/m2 were significantly greater (P = 0.028), and those with BMI > 25 kg/m2 and with fat percentage >85th percentile were significantly smaller (P = 0.012 and 0.004, respectively). In this cohort, those Aboriginal babies born smaller and lighter have remained smaller and lighter at 18 years of age. However, the highest risk of later chronic noncommunicable disease has been reported in subjects who were born small and become relatively larger in later life. The continued study of this Aboriginal birth cohort will give us an opportunity to determine if and when in later life the effects of birth weight are modified by environmental nutritional factors. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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