Very preterm newborns, those with low birth weight had lower incidence of fractures during mean follow-up of 10 years.
Very preterm infants and those with low birth weight have a lower incidence of fractures during childhood, according to a study published online May 23 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Ilari Kuitunen, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues examined bone fractures during childhood in preterm newborns and those with low birth weight compared to full-term newborns and those with normal birth weight. Incidences per 100,000 person-years were calculated, and comparisons were made by incidence rate ratios (IRRs).
A total of 997,468 newborns and 95,869 fractures were included. During a mean follow-up of 10.0 years, the overall incidence of fractures was 963 per 100,000 person-years. The researchers found that the incidence of fracture was 23 percent lower for very preterm (<32 gestational weeks) than term newborns (IRR, 0.77). The fracture rate was similar for preterm newborns (32 to 36 gestational weeks) and term newborns. A linear increase was seen in fracture rates with birth weight, with the lowest fracture incidence for those with birth weight less than 1,000 g and the highest for those with birth weight of 2,500 g or more (773 and 966 per 100,000 person-years, respectively).
“It can be concluded that the risk of fractures in childhood is explained by factors other than the effect of being preterm on bones,” Kuitunen said in a statement. “However, we know that preterm children are less likely to participate in sports, and they have less risk-taking behavior even as adults than full-term children.”