September 1996

Weight-for-Length Reference Data for Preterm, Low-Birth-Weight Infants

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Human Biology, Departments of Community Health (Drs Guo, Roche, and Chumlea and Mr Wholihan) and Pediatrics (Drs Roche and Chumlea), Wright State University School of Medicine, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and the Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock (Dr Casey).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(9):964-970. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170340078015

Objective:  To provide weight-for-length reference data for preterm, very-low-birth-weight and low-birth-weight infants.

Design:  Data from 867 infants (428 boys and 439 girls) in the Infant Health and Development Program, who each were preterm and who had a low birth weight, were used to develop weight-for-length reference data. The Infant Health and Development Program is a national, randomized, clinical trial that included various ethnic groups at 8 sites. At each site, sampling ensured that two thirds of the infants in the study weighed 2000 g or less and that one third of the infants weighed from 2001 to 2500 g at birth. Infants were examined at birth, at 40 weeks' postconception, and at 4, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 months' gestationadjusted age. Gestation-adjusted age was used instead of chronological age from birth to correct for the degree of prematurity.

Results:  Weight-for-length percentiles are given for lengths at 3-cm intervals ranging from 48 to 100 cm. These percentiles are sex specific and are for a very-low-birth-weight group (≤1500 g) and a low-birth-weight group (1501-2500 g).

Conclusions:  These data should assist screening for deviations from normal growth and may aid in the early detection of failure to thrive and excessive weight gain in infancy.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:964-970