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Open Access Research

The effects of varying protein and energy intakes on the growth and body composition of very low birth weight infants

Juan Antonio Costa-Orvay1, Josep Figueras-Aloy1*, Gerardo Romera2, Ricardo Closa-Monasterolo3 and Xavier Carbonell-Estrany1

Author Affiliations

1 Neonatal Unit, Hospital Clínic, IDIBAPS, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

2 Neonatal Unit, Montepríncipe Hospital, Madrid, Spain

3 Neonatal Unit, Hospital Joan XXIII, Tarragona, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, IISPV, Tarragona, Spain

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Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:140  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-140

Published: 29 December 2011

Abstract

Objective

To determine the effects of high dietary protein and energy intake on the growth and body composition of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants.

Study design

Thirty-eight VLBW infants whose weights were appropriate for their gestational ages were assessed for when they could tolerate oral intake for all their nutritional needs. Thirty-two infants were included in a longitudinal, randomized clinical trial over an approximate 28-day period. One control diet (standard preterm formula, group A, n = 8, 3.7 g/kg/d of protein and 129 kcal/kg/d) and two high-energy and high-protein diets (group B, n = 12, 4.2 g/kg/d and 150 kcal/kg/d; group C, n = 12, 4.7 g/kg/d and 150 kcal/kg/d) were compared. Differences among groups in anthropometry and body composition (measured with bioelectrical impedance analysis) were determined. An enriched breast milk group (n = 6) served as a descriptive reference group.

Results

Groups B and C displayed greater weight gains and higher increases in fat-free mass than group A.

Conclusion

An intake of 150 kcal/kg/d of energy and 4.2 g/kg/d of protein increases fat-free mass accretion in VLBW infants.

Keywords:
Bioelectrical impedance analysis; Nutrition; Newborn