Infants who develop slowly catch up on growth in time

Infants who develop slowly catch up on growth in time

New research reveals that most babies who put on weight at a slow rate during their first 9 months do eventually catch up to normal weight by the time they are teenagers, however, they will remain slightly shorter and lighter than their peers for a long time.

The findings, which were published by researchers at the University of Bristol in the journal Pediatrics, finally provides conclusive evidence to show that, with careful care, babies who are slow to put on weight during their first 9 months can eventually catch up to within a normal range.

A total of 11,499 people who were born in the 90s participated in the study. The researchers studied and analyzed their weight gain during their first 9 months as children. 507 of the infants gained weight at a slower than normal rate before the age of eight weeks and were part of the 'early group'. 480 put on weight at a slower than normal rate between the age of eight weeks and 9 months and were part of the 'late group'.

Children in the early group were able to quickly recover to a normal weight before the age of two, while those in the late group took a bit longer to recover, gradually gaining weight until the age of seven and then experiencing a spurt.

At the age of 13 those in the late group were found to be an average of 4.4 cm shorter and 5.5 kg lighter than other children, while infants in the early group were an average of 3.25 cm shorter and 2.5 kg lighter.

Clinicians often face a dilemma when treating infants with slow weight gain as they have to ensure that they are able to increase daily calorie intake without putting the children at risk of obesity later in life.

There were significant differences in the patterns of recovery between the early group and the late group.

Professor Alan Emond noted Professor of Community Child Health in the University's School of Social and Community Medicine, noted that the reason why children in the early group might have recovered more quickly is because they had feeding difficulties which were identified within the first eight weeks, resulting in earlier and more effective treatment.

He said:

"As Children of the 90s is an observational study, there is limited information available about which infants received nutritional supplements or medical treatments. Those children who showed slow weight gain later in infancy took longer to recover, because of the longer period of slow growth and because their parents were smaller and lighter too."

He added:

"Overall, parents can be reassured that well babies showing slow weight gain in the first year do eventually recover to within the normal range, but at 13-years tend to be lighter and smaller than many of their peers."

It's important to monitor and check a baby's weight progression during their first months of development. However, parents should not overly worry if their baby is well but growing at a slow rate, as they will often catch up with the national average in time.

The findings suggest that, unless urgently required, doctors shouldn't necessarily increase the calorie intake among infants too quickly as it can severely increase their risk of weight problems later in life.

premature baby development (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Medical practice