Aerobic fitness of young adults born with low birth weight


A birth weight that is too small could signal the occurrence of growth disorders or even growth deficiency, as well as a variety of disorders of bodily functions, including impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and hypertension. However, so far the relation between birth weight and aerobic capacity has not been studied.

Objective: To compare the aerobic capacity of physically active young adults with different birth weights.

Methods: 159 people born at full term of a single pregnancy (F: 45%, n = 71; M: n = 88), first-year students studying Physical Education. In all cases the subjects’ body composition was estimated, height and weight (BW) was measured, and the maximal oxygen uptake during exercises performed on an ergometer bicycle was established.

Results: the smallest birth body weight (BBW) was 2200 g; 3% of students (n = 5) were born with a BBW of less than 2500 g, and only 2% were born with BBW deficiency (<2 SDS). Physical development of the respondents was similar regardless of their gender and their BBW values, except for women born with small BBW (<1 SDS), whose BW was significantly lower than those born with a higher BBW. A trend of higher incidence of particularly good aerobic capacity in women with small BBW was observed.

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