Very low birthweight linked to poor glucose regulation in later life

July 1, 2007

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Infants born weighing less than 1,500 g have a higher risk of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance as young adults, when compared to those born with normal weight, according to a report in the May 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Petteri Hovi, MD, of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues performed a 75-g oral glucose test in 163 young adults born preterm with a birthweight less than 1,500 g, and in 169 young adults born with normal birthweights. Insulin and glucose levels were measured at baseline and at 120 minutes.

The investigators found that very low birthweight subjects had 2-hour glucose concentrations that were 6.7% higher than control subjects. Also, insulin concentrations in these subjects were 16.7% higher while fasting and 40% higher after 2 hours than their matched controls, giving an 18.9% higher insulin-resistance index. In addition, very low birthweight subjects had an average systolic blood pressure that was 4.8 mm Hg higher than controls.

Hovi P, Andersson S, Eriksson JG, et al. Glucose regulation in young adults with very low birth weight. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:2053-2063.