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Variation in term birth weight across European countries affects the prevalence of small for gestational age among very preterm infants
Jennifer Zeitlin, Anna-Karin Edstedt Bonamy, Aurelie Piedvache, Marina Cuttini, Henrique Barros, Patrick Van Reempts, Jan Mazela, Pierre-Henri Jarreau, Ludwig Gortner, Elizabeth S. Draper, Rolf F. Maier and the EPICE Research Group
Acta Paediatr. (2017)

Intrauterine growth references are used for assessing the growth of very preterm (VPT) infants; a birth weight below the 10th percentile is considered to be small for gestational age (SGA). The aim was to assess the prevalence of infants classified as SGA using two different intrauterine growth references - country-specific and common European references - in 7766 VPT live births in the EPICE cohort.

Using country-specific references, the SGA prevalence in the cohort was 31.8%, compared to 34.0% when using common European references. The weights at the 3rd and 10th percentiles differed across countries with different mean birth weights; the 10th percentile values in Portugal and Italy were close to the 3rd percentile values in Estonia and Sweden. The common reference resulted in higher proportions of infants SGA in countries with low term birth weights, and low proportions in countries with high term birth weights.

The results showed that varying term birth weights across Europe affect the prevalence of children classified as small for gestational age, bringing into question the use of common European references in VPT infants.

See article here: Acta Paediatr