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Kids born Prematurely Have Weaker Muscles, Says Study

Update Date: Dec 30, 2015 09:53 AM EST

Premature born young adults may have weaker muscles as compared to their peers who were born after a full term, says a Finnish study. These adults that were born before their term also considered themselves as less fit physically, even though the study did not find much difference between these people and the ones who were born at full term, in terms of cardiorespiratory fitness. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks and a child born after the completion of 37 weeks is considered full term. Premature kids, immediately after their birth, face difficulties in breathing and digesting their food. Some infants may also face other problems such as impaired vision, social or behavioral problems, hearing impairment and cognitive skills, as per Reuters

According to previous research, extremely premature babies may also face weak muscular fitness. However, the new study suggests that this problem may extend to all the babies born pre-term, even those who were born slightly early or were a little underweight, said the lead author of the study Dr. Marjanna Tikanmaki from University of Oulu in Finland and National Institute for Health and welfare. "The differences in muscular fitness of young adults born preterm were detected in our study across the full range of preterm birth, but not for cardiovascular fitness," Tikanmaki said by email. But, Tikanmaki added, "The test we used to measure cardiovascular fitness may not be sensitive enough to detect small differences between those born preterm and those born at term," reported Reuters

To understand the effects of timing of birth and its impact on fitness later, the researchers studied 139 young adults who were born before 34 weeks' period which is considered an early preterm. The other set of people consisted of 247 people that were born between 34 and 36 weeks, also called late preterm. The researchers analyzed this group to 352 individuals who were born full term. Average age of a participant was 23 years. Their health was assessed based on the number of push-ups they performed in 40 seconds, said Reuters

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