Role of specific Nutrients in LBW Infants

Speaker: J. Bhatia Presented at: 81st Nestle Nutrition Workshop, South Africa


Protein, calcium, iron and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are the ‘building blocks’ of prenatal growth. These nutrients are largely supplied in the third trimester. For this reason, infants born premature are vulnerable to deficiencies of these nutrients. It is important to ensure adequate nutrition to support appropriate growth of preterm babies. This is paramount to break the vicious and potentially intergenerational cycle of growth failure. Premature and LBW infants likely have inadequate levels of calcium and phosphorus,that together with magnesium, play prominent roles in a host of biochemical reactions. Breastmilk fortification is required to meet the nutritional requirements of preterm infants. In his presentation, Dr Bhatia also discusses the roles of other nutrients (including vitamin D, iron, copper, zinc and polyunsaturated fatty acids) for growth and normal development.