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Body composition and neuromotor development in the year after NICU discharge in premature infants.

  • Author(s): Cooper, Dan M;
  • Girolami, Gay L;
  • Kepes, Brenda;
  • Stehli, Annamarie;
  • Lucas, Candice Taylor;
  • Haddad, Fadia;
  • Zalidvar, Frank;
  • Dror, Nitzan;
  • Ahmad, Irfan;
  • Soliman, Antoine;
  • Radom-Aizik, Shlomit
  • et al.


Hypothesis: neuromotor development correlates to body composition over the first year of life in prematurely born infants and can be influenced by enhancing motor activity.


Forty-six female and 53 male infants [27 ± 1.8 (sd) weeks] randomized to comparison or exercise group (caregiver provided 15-20 min daily of developmentally appropriate motor activities) completed the year-long study. Body composition [lean body and fat mass (LBM, FM)], growth/inflammation predictive biomarkers, and Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) were assessed.


AIMS at 1 year correlated with LBM (r = 0.32, p < 0.001) in the whole cohort. However, there was no effect of the intervention. LBM increased by ~3685 g (p < 0.001)); insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was correlated with LBM (r = 0.36, p = 0.002). IL-1RA (an inflammatory biomarker) decreased (-75%, p < 0.0125). LBM and bone mineral density were significantly lower and IGF-1 higher in the females at 1 year.


We found an association between neuromotor development and LBM suggesting that motor activity may influence LBM. Our particular intervention was ineffective. Whether activities provided largely by caregivers to enhance motor activity in prematurely born infants can affect the interrelated (1) balance of growth and inflammation mediators, (2) neuromotor development, (3) sexual dimorphism, and/or (4) body composition early in life remains unknown.

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