Extremely low birth weight infants are exposed to long term complications which extend into adulthood, and can be related back to early nutrition: problems can include hypertension, altered renal function, diminished lung function, reduced bone density, autism, allergies and reproductive problems.
In this presentation, Umberto Simeoni notes that the nutrition of pre-term infants at discharge from hospital is a controversial issue, but what is certain is that low birth weight infants grow poorly before and after discharge. Intensive early nutrition of pre-term infants improves organ and systems development, overall growth and neuro-development. However, over-nutrition can result in chronic cardo-metabolic disease in adulthood. He details the practical choices of nutrition post-discharge: breast milk, fortified breast milk and special formulas which are not available in all countries.