To examine the impact of early educational experience at age 8 years on child growth status. The Infant Health and Development Program has shown positive impacts to age 8 years on intelligence and adaptive functioning of larger preterm infants.
Randomized controlled trial.
Home and center based.
Three hundred seventy-seven intervention (INT) and 608 nonintervention (NI) children, stratified by birth-weight categories 2001 to 2500 g and 2000 g or less.
Educational intervention from nursery discharge until age 3 years.
Main Outcome Measures
Eight-year weight, height, head circumference, and body mass index.
Complete data were available for 313 INT children and 491 NI children. Adjusting for child birth weight, birth-weight category, treatment group × birth-weight category interaction, sex, race, and Neonatal Health Index; maternal education and preconception weight; and site, the INT children at age 8 years were significantly taller (127.6 vs 126.6 cm; P = .02) and had a larger head circumference (52.5 vs 52.1 cm; P < .001) than the NI children. The prevalence of both overweight (9%) and underweight (4.5%) was the same in both treatment groups. Lighter low-birth-weight INT children had greater 8-year weight (28.0 vs 26.8 kg; P = .02), larger head circumference (52.6 vs 52.1 cm; P < .001), and larger height (127.6 vs 126.5 cm; P = .05) compared with their counterparts in the NI group.
Low-birth-weight preterm children, specifically the lighter low-birth-weight group, who received the Infant Health and Development Program educational intervention were heavier and taller and had greater head circumference compared with NI children in the same birth-weight category.