University of Oulu

Matinolli, H.-M., Hovi, P., Levälahti, E., Kaseva, N., Silveira, P., Hemiö, K., … Kajantie, E. (2017). Neonatal Nutrition Predicts Energy Balance in Young Adults Born Preterm at Very Low Birth Weight. Nutrients, 9(12), 1282.

Neonatal nutrition predicts energy balance in young adults born preterm at very low birth weight

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Author: Matinolli, Hanna-Maria1,2; Hovi, Petteri1,3; Levälahti, Esko1;
Organizations: 1Department of Public Health Solutions, National Institute for Health and Welfare, FI-00271 Helsinki, Finland
2Institute for Health Sciences, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
3Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, FI-00290 Helsinki, Finland
4Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada
5Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
6Folkhälsan Research Center, FI-00280 Helsinki, Finland
7PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-09-13


Epidemiological studies and animal models suggest that early postnatal nutrition and growth can influence adult health. However, few human studies have objective recordings of early nutrient intake. We studied whether nutrient intake and growth during the first 9 weeks after preterm birth with very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g) predict total energy intake, resting energy expenditure (REE), physical activity and food preferences in young adulthood. We collected daily nutritional intakes and weights during the initial hospital stay from hospital records for 127 unimpaired VLBW participants. At an average age 22.5 years, they completed a three-day food record and a physical activity questionnaire and underwent measurements of body composition (dual X-ray absorptiometry; n = 115 with adequate data) and REE (n = 92 with adequate data). We used linear regression and path analysis to investigate associations between neonatal nutrient intake and adult outcomes. Higher energy, protein and fat intakes during the first three weeks of life predicted lower relative (=per unit lean body mass) energy intake and relative REE in adulthood, independent of other pre- and neonatal factors. In path analysis, total effects of early nutrition and growth on relative energy intake were mostly explained by direct effects of early life nutrition. A path mediated by early growth reached statistical significance only for protein intake. There were no associations of neonatal intakes with physical activity or food preferences in adulthood. As a conclusion, higher intake of energy and nutrients during first three weeks of life of VLBW infants predicts energy balance after 20 years. This association is partly mediated through postnatal growth.

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Series: Nutrients
ISSN: 2072-6643
ISSN-E: 2072-6643
ISSN-L: 2072-6643
Volume: 9
Issue: 12
Article number: 1282
DOI: 10.3390/nu9121282
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: The study was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Emil Aaltonen Foundation, the Finnish Government Special Subsidiary for Health Sciences (evo), Finnish Medical Societies (Duodecim and Finska Läkaresällskapet), Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation, Juho Vainio Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, Foundation for Pediatric Research (Finland), Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research and The Diabetes Research Foundation (Finland).
Copyright information: © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (