Premature babies may grow up to have weaker bones: Low birth weight plays a big role in osteoporosis risk


Premature births come along with their own set of problems for the babies. Physical, cognitive and their overall health also sometimes takes the toll.

Health risks become more prominent as they age and a new research has revealed another health issue that might be of concern for those born prematurely.

The study has found that babies born prematurely are at an increased risk of having brittle bones in adulthood, while also adding that adding that low birth weight may also raise the risk of osteoporosis.

During the last few weeks of pregnancy, the mother’s body transfers calcium to the growing foetus to boost its bone development.

But, when a baby is born premature, this transfer gets interrupted resulting in weaker bones in later life.

The findings showed that adults those who were born prematurely have lower peak bone mass — a major determinant of future osteoporosis — compared to those who were born in full term.\

However, adults who were born small for their gestational age at term also had lower bone mass than adults who were born with normal weight at term.

“Our study shows that both those born prematurely with a very low birth weight and those who were born full term, but small for their gestational age, had lower bone mass than the control group, who were born full term with normal weights,” said lead author Chandima Balasuriya, doctoral candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

“Consuming a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, in combination with exercise that involves weight-bearing physical activities may help children with low birth weights to reduce the risk of bone fractures later in life,” Balasuriya noted.

The results were presented recently at the 2016 European Congress of Endocrinology in Munich.

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