University of Oulu

Mehl, C.V., Hollund, I.M.H., Iversen, J.M. et al. Health-related quality of life in young adults born small for gestational age: a prospective cohort study. Health Qual Life Outcomes 20, 49 (2022).

Health-related quality of life in young adults born small for gestational age : a prospective cohort study

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Author: Mehl, Cathrin Vano1; Hollund, Ingrid Marie Husby1,2; Iversen, Johanne Marie3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491, Trondheim, Norway
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
3Department of Internal Medicine, Nordland Hospital Trust, Bodø, Norway
4Department of Clinical Medicine, UiT Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
5Department of Mental Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
6Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
7Public Health Promotion Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Oulu, Finland
8PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
9Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
10Unit for Physiotherapy, Trondheim Municipality, Trondheim, Norway
11Children’s Clinic, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
12Department of Physiotherapy, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-29


Background: Individuals born small for gestational age (SGA) have an increased risk of several adverse health outcomes, but their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) across young adulthood has yet to be studied. The main aim of this study was to investigate if being born SGA at term is associated with poor HRQoL at 32 years of age. A second aim was to explore longitudinal changes in HRQoL from age 20 to 32 years.

Methods: In the prospective NTNU Low Birth Weight in a Lifetime Perspective study, 56 participants born SGA and 68 non-SGA control participants completed the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) at age 32 years to assess HRQoL. The SF-36 was also administrated at age 20 and 28 years. Longitudinal changes in the eight SF-36 domains and the two component summaries from 20 to 32 years were analyzed by linear mixed models. In total, 82 adults born SGA and 98 controls participated at least once and were included in the longitudinal analyses.

Results: At age 32 years the participants born SGA scored 14.8 (95% CI 4.7 to 25.3) points lower in the SF-36 role-physical domain compared with the control group, i.e. more problems with work or other daily activities due to physical health problems. The longitudinal analyses showed significant group differences from 20 to 32 years in the role-emotional domain, and in the physical and mental component summaries. Among participants born SGA, the physical component summary decreased from age 20 to 28 years (-3.2, 95% CI -5.0 to -1.8), while the mental component summary (6.0, 95% CI 2.9 to 8.6) and role-emotional domain score (19.3, 95% CI 9.9 to 30.3) increased, but there were no further changes from 28 to 32 years. There were no longitudinal changes in the control group from 20 to 32 years.

Conclusion: Overall, individuals born SGA at term reported similar HRQoL at age 32 years compared with non-SGA controls. Self-perceived mental health improved during young adulthood among individuals born SGA, while self-perceived physical health deteriorated. The latter findings warrant further investigation.

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Series: Health and quality of life outcomes
ISSN: 1477-7525
ISSN-E: 1477-7525
ISSN-L: 1477-7525
Volume: 20
Issue: 1
Article number: 49
DOI: 10.1186/s12955-022-01948-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The study was funded by the joint research committee of St. Olavs Hospital HF and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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