University of Oulu

Suikkanen J, Matinolli H-M, Eriksson JG, Järvenpää A-L, Andersson S, Kajantie E, et al. (2018) Early postnatal nutrition after preterm birth and cardiometabolic risk factors in young adulthood. PLoS ONE 13(12): e0209404.

Early postnatal nutrition after preterm birth and cardiometabolic risk factors in young adulthood

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Author: Suikkanen, Julia1,2; Matinolli, Hanna-Maria1,3; Eriksson, Johan G1,4,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Public Health Solutions, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
2Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Research Center, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
5Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
6PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-06-17


Objectives: Adults born preterm at very low birthweight (VLBW; <1500 g) have a non-optimal cardiometabolic risk factor profile. Since higher protein intake during the first weeks of life predicted a healthier body composition in adulthood in our previous studies, we hypothesized that it would also predict a favorable cardiometabolic profile.

Study design: The Helsinki Study of VLBW Adults includes 166 VLBW and preterm infants born between 1978 and 1985. We collected postnatal nutrition data among 125 unimpaired subjects, who attended two study visits at the mean ages of 22.5 and 25.1 years. We evaluated the effects of energy and macronutrient intakes during the first three 3-week periods of life on key cardiometabolic risk factors with multiple linear regression models. We also report results adjusted for prenatal, postnatal and adult characteristics.

Results: Macronutrient and energy intakes were not associated with blood pressure, heart rate, or lipid levels in adulthood. Intakes were neither associated with fasting glucose or most other markers of glucose metabolism. An exception was that the first-three-weeks-of-life intakes predicted higher fasting insulin levels: 1 g/kg/day higher protein intake by 37.6% (95% CI: 8.0%, 75.2%), and 10 kcal/kg/day higher energy intake by 8.6% (2.6%, 14.9%), when adjusted for sex and age. These early intakes similarly predicted the adult homeostasis model assessment index. Further adjustments strengthened these findings.

Conclusions: Among VLBW infants with relatively low early energy intake, early macronutrient and energy intakes were unrelated to blood pressure, lipid levels and intravenous glucose tolerance test results. Contrary to our hypothesis, a higher macronutrient intake during the first three weeks of life predicted higher fasting insulin concentration in young adulthood.

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Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 13
Issue: 12
Article number: e0209404
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209404
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: This study was part of the Helsinki Study of Very Low Birth Weight Adults, which was funded by the Academy of Finland (, Biomedicum Helsinki Foundation (, The Diabetes Research Foundation, Finland (, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (, Emil Aaltonen Foundation (, the Finnish Government Special Subsidiary for Health Sciences (evo), Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research (, Finnish Foundation of Pediatric Research (, the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim (, Finska Läkaresällskapet (, Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation (, Juho Vainio Foundation (, Novo Nordisk Foundation (, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation (, Sigrid Juselius Foundation (, the University of Helsinki Research Foundation (, and Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Copyright information: © 2018 Suikkanen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.