Study: Extreme Preemies Must Watch Blood Sugars and Weight

Abnormal blood glucose levels and higher body fat more common among adults born extremely early

By the time they are in their early 30s, people who were born as extremely low- birth weight (ELBW) babies are four times more likely to develop dysglycemia, or abnormal blood glucose, than people whose birthweights were normal.

Young adults who were born weighing less than 2.2 pounds are also more likely to have higher body fat and lower lean mass than their peers born at a normal weight even when their BMIs are about the same, says research published in the journal Pediatrics.

The study found that 26% of people in their early 30s who were born extremely early have dysglycemia compared with 8% of those born at a normal weight.

"Because they were born early, the ELBW babies were living outside the womb during the most important developmental period for fat and muscle development. We think that might be related to our findings," said Dr. Katherine Morrison, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at McMaster University Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario, and the study’s principal investigator.

"It's important to know about these potential implications for the ELBW babies, so that we can identify ways to help those born premature counteract these potential influences on their health,” she said."

Source: EurekAlert; September 2, 2016.