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Table 4 Low birth weight and childhood health outcomes

From: The impact of pre and perinatal lifestyle factors on child long term health and social outcomes: a systematic review

Study Aim Methods Outcome measure Results Notes Quality assessment
Annesi-Maesano et al., 2001 [38] To explore how in utero and perinatal factors and health outcomes affect the development and severity of asthma in childhood Prospective cohort study.
4065 children and 2583 mothers.
Mean age among cohort mothers was 31.0 ± 3.3 years.
Childhood asthma Low birth weight (< 2.5 kg) was associated with child asthma (OR = 1.57 [95% CI: 1.10- 2.25]) Good range of covariates Strong
Davies et al. 2004 [45] Association between birth weight and adult total cholesterol concentration (TC) Cross-sectional 1994-1996
18,286 men and 7557 women. British Telecom employees
The mean age is 38.9 for men and 36 for women
Adult cholesterol After adjustment, in men a − 0.09 mmol/L reduction in TC was observed per 1 kg increase in birth weight (95% CI, − 0.11 to − 0.06 mmol/L; P < 0.001); in women, a − 0.006 mmol/L reduction in TC was observed per 1 kg increase in birth weight (95% CI, − 0.04 to 0.03; P = 0.8). Birth weight and TC association may be dependent on sex.
Adjusted for a good amount of covariates
Gale and Martyn 2004 [39] Association between birth weight and risk of psychological distress and depression Prospective cohort study
5187 participants included for the 16-year follow-up; 8292 for the 26-year follow-up
Adult depression Low birth weight < =2.5 kg was associated with depression in women at age 26 (OR = 1.3 [95% CI:0.9-1.8]) and men at age 26 years (OR = 1.6 [95% CI:1.1-2.3]). Adjusted for a good amount of covariates Strong
Law et al. 1993 [40] Association between low birth weight and high blood pressure Longitudinal study
1895 children (0-10 years) and 1231 men and women aged 59-71 years.
Childhood and adult blood pressure Every kg of birth weight increase was associated with 2.8 mmHg (95% CI: 1.4-4.1) decrease in blood pressure at the age of 4, 4.0 mmHg (95% CI: 1.5-6.5) decrease at the age of 64, and 5.2 mmHg (95% CI: 1.8-8.6) decrease for the age of 64 to 71 Blood pressure as a proxy of hypertension Strong
Moore 2005 [46] To identify the incidence and characteristics of preventable childhood deaths. Retrospective survey
34 childhood preventable deaths.
City of Wolverhampton, UK
Mother’s age < 20 years (33%)
Childhood death Preventable deaths were associated with low (2933 g) birth weight (p < 0.001).   Weak
Orfei et al. 2008 [58] Association between adult lung function and birth weight, postnatal growth and early air-pollution exposure Data drawn from 2 UK cohort studies (n = 3262 and 9377).
Lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), and forced vital capacity (FVC)). The 1946 cohort was assessed for lung function at age 43 years; the 1958 cohort was assessed at age 44-45 years.
Lung function When the two cohorts were pooled and mutually adjusted, 1 SD increase in birth weight was associated with 30.4 ml increase in FEV1 (95% CI: 16.1-44.8) and 26.9 ml increase in FVC (95% CI: 8.0-46.0). Adjusted for a good amount of covariates. Strong
Pearce et al. 2012 [41] Direct and indirect associations between foetal, infancy and adult risk factors and fibrinogen levels Prospective study
394 singleton study members
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Adult fibrinogen level (a risk factor for CVD) No significant association was found between standardised birth weight and adult plasma fibrinogen levels (Beta-coefficient = − 0.03, 95% CI: − 0.01-0.001, p = 0.34, unadjusted)   Moderate
Riordan et al. 2006 [42] The association between perinatal circumstances and subsequent young adult suicide Birth cohort study
1,061,830 participants birth between 1 Jan 1969 - 31 Dec 1986
Adult suicide Individuals of low birth weight (< 2500 g), when compared with the reference group (3250–3749 g) were at higher risk of suicide (HR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.05–1.72) and at higher risk of death from other causes (HR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.24–1.61).   Strong
Robertson and Harrild 2010 [43] Association between maternal and neonatal risk factors and type 1 diabetes in children under 15 years old 361 case children and 1083 controls
Scottish Study
Childhood diabetes The risk of development childhood type 1 diabetes was not associated with birth weight (OR 0.66 CI95% 0.34 to 1.28; p = 0.22 adjusted).   Moderate
Smith et al. 2007 [44] The relation between complications in a first livebirth (such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, or intrauterine growth restriction) and the risk of unexplained stillbirth. retrospective cohort study
133,163 women having a second birth
Subsequent pregnancy outcomes Small for gestational age birth weight (smallest 10% for sex and gestation) shows an increase in the risk of stillbirth in the second pregnancy (HR 2.32 CI 95% 1.82, 2.96 p < 0.001) Risk of explained and unexplained stillbirth in the second pregnancy Strong