Premature Birth Affects Fitness In Adult Years


A recent study by researchers in Finland suggests that young adults who were born prematurely have feebler muscular components than the full-term born ones. These young adults also tend to see themselves as less healthy as compared to their peers. The study measured these premature-born young adults’ cardiorespiratory, muscular and personal fitness.

Babies who were born before the 37th week of the 40-week pregnancy are considered premature. Those who were born before the 34th week of gestation are in the early preterm, while infants born between the 34th and 36th week are in the late preterm. Premature babies are small, since they spent less time inside the womb and had less time to develop fully. Moreover, preterm babies are more likely to suffer from various health and medical issues.10-Things-Your-Doctor-Wont-Tell-You-About-Congenital-Heart-Defects-722x406

The said study also showed that early births can affect the physical fitness and cardiovascular health of all premature babies. Dr. Marjaana Tikanmaki, the study’s key author, stressed the relevance of the research. She said that it explains how being born prematurely can affect and produce health risks to preterm infants when they reach their young adult years.

Muscular Tests

To assess how premature births can affect physical fitness, the current study was conducted among 139 young adults who were born during the early preterm, 247 individuals born during the late preterm, and 352 babies born full term. Their ages are around 23 years.

There were two tests that evaluated each person’s muscular fitness. One of the tests involved a 40-second moderated push-up. It measured each’s short-term endurance aptitude of the upper body parts, as well as the capacity to even out the trunk.

It turned out that the full-term participants were able to manage 10 and 14 push-ups. On the other hand, preterm men and women did an average of 9 and 13 push-ups respectively, one less than their full-term peers.

The other test assessed the participants’ muscular fitness by measuring their grip strength. In this test, they were directed to squeeze a device that measures the force with the use of their more forceful hands. Early preterm participants recorded less grip strengths as compared to their late-term and full-term counterparts.

Cardiovascular Test

The cardiorespiratory fitness was also measured, wherein the researchers observed the heart rate of each individual after making them undergo a step test that lasted for four minutes. On average, women registered 160 beats per minute while men recorded 153 beats. The researchers also found out that there is no significant difference between the heart rate of the full-term participants and the preterm ones.

Personal-Related Test

When it comes to personal-related fitness, the early preterm participants rated themselves lower than the full-term. This proved that premature-born individuals tend to see themselves as less fit than the rest of their peers.

Other Implications

The said study further suggests that weaker muscular fitness usually triggers many complicated health and medical problems. Such problems include more fragile bone, reduced sugar or glucose regulation, and higher blood pressure.

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