Background: Children with congenital gastrointestinal anomalies (CGIAs) experience multiple stressors while hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units during an essential time of growth and development. Early stress and inadequate nutrition are linked to altered growth patterns and later neurodevelopmental delays. In other at-risk populations, improved fat-free mass (FFM) accretion is associated with improved cognitive outcomes. Objective: To determine if body composition is associated with cognitive function in preschool-age children with CGIAs. Study design: An observational study examined body composition and cognition in 34 preschool-age children with CGIAs. Anthropometric measurements and body composition testing via air displacement plethysmography were obtained. Measurements were compared with a reference group of healthy, term-born children. Cognition was measured with the NIH Toolbox Early Childhood Cognition Battery. Linear regression was used to test the association of body composition with cognitive function. Results: Compared with the reference group, children with CGIAs had similar anthropometric measurements (weight, height, and body mass index z-scores) and body composition at preschool-age. Processing speed scores were lower than standardized means (p = 0.001). Increased FFM was associated with higher receptive vocabulary scores (p = 0.001), cognitive flexibility scores (p = 0.005), and general cognitive function scores (p = 0.05). Conclusions: At preschool-age, children with CGIAs have similar growth and body composition to their peers. In children with CGIAs, higher FFM was associated with higher cognitive scores. Closer tracking of body composition and interventions aimed at increasing FFM may improve long-term outcomes in this population.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for the project was from the Benjamin Walker Hanson Fund of the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development Seed Grant . The Center for Neurobehavioral Development at the University of Minnesota provided research space. Statistical analysis was performed through The Biostatistical Design and Analysis Center of The Clinical and Translational Science Institute of the University of Minnesota.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report. Funding for the project was from the Benjamin Walker Hanson Fund of the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development Seed Grant.
- Body composition
- Fat-free mass
- Neonatal surgery
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Observational Study
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't