Growth patterns in preterm infants born appropriate for gestational age


Dr Pamela Dodrill, Children's Nutrition Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital, Herston, Brisbane, Qld. 4029, Australia. Fax: +61 7 3346 4684; email:


Aim:  This study aimed to document the growth patterns of a contemporary cohort of preterm infants born appropriate for gestational age (AGA). It was hypothesised that preterm AGA (PT-AGA) infants would display poorer growth than full-term AGA (FT-AGA) infants.

Methods:  Sixty-four PT-AGA infants and 64 FT-AGA infants were assessed at 0, 4, 8 and 12 months of corrected age (CA). Measurements of weight and length were recorded at each of the specified ages. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth data were used to calculate Z-scores for weight and length based on CA.

Results:  The mean length and weight Z-scores of PT-AGA infants were found to be significantly less than those of FT-AGA infants at term, 4, 8 and 12 months of CA (P < 0.001). The mean weight Z-score of PT-AGA infants was found to be less than their mean length Z-score at each time point, though the differences were not significant.

Conclusions:  The results of this study suggest that PT-AGA infants are likely to display poorer growth than FT-AGA infants until at least 1 year of CA. Long-term growth monitoring in this population is recommended.