Latest Issue of Science News


News

Low birth weight matters later, too

Premature babies weighing less than 1.5 kilograms–about 3 pounds, 5 ounces–at birth grow up to have lower achievement scores on standard tests and are less likely to go to college than are full-term babies weighing more than twice as much, a study finds. On the other hand, these premature infants tend to be less mischief-prone as they grow, researchers report in the Jan. 17 New England Journal of Medicine.

Scientists tracked 242 babies who on average were born 7 weeks premature and weighed 1.18 kg at birth. The researchers compared the group's progress at age 20 with that of 233 people who were born full-term and who averaged 3.28 kg at birth. All the babies were born in the late 1970s in inner-city Cleveland.

Although socioeconomic status was similar for all the babies, fewer in the low-birth-weight group were enrolled in four-year colleges. They also scored lower on IQ tests.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.