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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


SICHIERI, Rosely et al. Lack of association between iron status at birth and growth of preterm infants. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.40, n.4, pp.641-647. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between iron status at birth and growth of preterm infants. METHODS: Ninety-five premature babies (26 to 36 weeks of gestational age) born from July 2000 to May 2001 in a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Brazil, were followed up for six months, corrected by gestational age. Iron measurements at birth were available for 82 mothers and 78 children: hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume and plasma iron. All children received free doses of iron supplement (2 mg/kg/day) during the follow-up period and up to two years of age. Multivariate linear regression analyses with repeated measurements were performed to assess factors associated to linear growth. RESULTS: Growth was more pronounced up to 40 weeks of gestational age, increasing about 1.0 cm/week and then slowing down to 0.75 cm/week. The multivariate analysis showed growth was positively associated with birth weight (0.4 cm/100 g; p<0.001) and negatively associated with gestational age at birth (-0.5 cm/week; p<0.001). There was no association between cord iron and mother iron measurements and growth (p>0.60 for all measures). Only two children had anemia at birth, whereas 43.9% of mothers were anemic (hemoglobin <11 g/dl). Also, there was no correlation between anemia indicators of mothers and children at birth (r<0.15; p>0.20). CONCLUSIONS: Maternal anemia was not associated with anemia in preterm infants and iron status of mothers and children at birth was not associated with short-term growth of preterm infants.

Keywords : Anemia; Infant, premature [growth & development]; Iron [blood].

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