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Rate of chronic health problems for low-birth-weight children does not increase in adolescence
Date:7/27/2011

In a follow-up of extremely low-birth-weight children, the rates of chronic health conditions overall, and asthma specifically, did not change between the ages of 8 and 14 years, although the rate of obesity did increase, according to a study in the July 27 issue of JAMA.

Changes in perinatal care in the 1990s resulted in improved survival among extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW) infants (weight less than 2.2 lbs.).

"The school-aged outcomes for these children indicate very high rates of chronic health conditions and developmental problems compared with normal-birth-weight (NBW) controls. There have been few reports of the outcomes of ELBW children during adolescence, which is a time of enormous social, health, and developmental change," according to background information in the article.

Maureen Hack, M.B., Ch.B., of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study to examine changes in the rates of chronic conditions of ELBW children between the ages of 8 and 14 years. In a previous study, the authors reported that compared with NBW controls, ELBW children at 8 years of age had significantly higher rates of chronic conditions, functional limitations, and special health care needs. The current study, conducted from 2004 through 2009, included 181 ELBW children from the previous study and 115 NBW controls of similar sociodemographic status, born from 1992 through 1995.

Within the ELBW group, the overall rates of chronic conditions did not change between the ages of 8 and 14 years (75 percent and 74 percent, respectively) but there was a significant decrease in the average number of chronic conditions per child. On measures of functional limitation, the rates decreased significantly from 56 percent to 46 percent. In a comparison of the groups, the significantly higher rates and numbers of chronic conditions among the ELBW c
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Contact: George Stamatis
george.stamatis@uhhospitals.org
216-844-3667
University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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