Nutrition Counseling And The Growth Of Infants Born Weighing 1000 Grams Or Less

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




This study measured the effectiveness of nutrition counseling on the growth of 112 singleton infants born weighing 1000 grams or less during the first two years of life.Mean birth weight was 881 grams at a mean gestational age of 29 weeks. Fifty-five percent of the infants were small-for-gestational age. Infants were divided into groups dependent upon the number of nutrition counseling interventions: Group I received zero to one interventions; II, two to three; and III, four to six. Demographic characteristics, perinatal complications, and persistent medical conditions were equally distributed across treatment groups. The study sample was 58% black and 42% white. Weight and length measurements were converted to standard scores and percentiles using corrected and chronologic ages and National Center for Health Statistics growth norms. Standard scores allowed comparisons among treatment groups for measurements taken at different ages.By one-way analysis of variance, there was no significant nutrition counseling effect for weight; the treatment effect approached significance (p < .08) for length at 22 months chronologic age and achieved significance (p < .02) for the age-dependent weight for length ratio. Although this ratio decreased as treatment increased, it was affected by the less compromised growth in length as compared to weight. The proportionality of weight for length was generally better than either age-related weights or lengths.Intrauterine growth retardation and sex did not influence the percentile frequency distributions of growth outcome. Small- and appropriate-for-gestational age infants of both sexes had similar percentile frequency distributions which were generally below normal. Almost half the sample had weights and lengths (LESSTHEQ) 5th percentile at 22 months chronologic age. At 20 months corrected age, the proportion of children with weights and lengths (LESSTHEQ) 5th percentile was approximately one-third. The percentile frequency of weight for length (LESSTHEQ) 5th percentile was 23%. The potential for catch-up growth was limited to the first year of life.The growth outcome was equal to or better than several reported studies despite the inclusion of only infants with birth weights of 1000 grams or less, a high incidence of intrauterine growth retardation, and a high proportion of minority and low socioeconomic infants.


Health Sciences, Nutrition

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text