weight, these studies suggest that preterm infants are also more likely to be rehospitalized (Escobar et al., 1999; Martens et al., 2004). For example, among infants born preterm, those born at earlier gestations compared to those born moderately preterm were at greater risk of rehospitalization (Joffe et al., 1999). Children born with birth weights below 2,500 grams also make more use of outpatient health care (Jackson et al., 2001) and incur significantly higher medical and nonmedical costs (McCormick et al, 1991) compared to children born with normal birth weights. Furthermore, as with other measures of health care utilization, the rates of rehospitalization vary among institutions (Escobar et al., 2005; Martens et al., 2004).
The increased risk of rehospitalization for preterm and low birth weight infants is likely a reflection of their compromised health status. Children born with birth weights below 1,500 grams suffer increased morbidity (McCormick et al., 1992) compared to children with normal birth weights. The psychosocial environment is also important for children born with birth weights below 2,500 grams, as those with high psychosocial risk have worse health status than children in low and moderate risk categories (McGauhey et al., 1991). Furthermore, in comparison to children with normal birth weights, chronic health conditions have a stronger impact on the school achievement and participation, and behavior problems of children with birth weights below 2,500 grams (McGauhey et al., 1991). The impact of LBW extends into adolesence. Adolescents with birth weights below 1,500 grams have higher blood pressure than those with normal birth weights (Doyle et al., 2003a).
Besides acute and chronic conditions, infants born preterm or with birth weights below 2,500 grams also experience poorer growth. The first 3 years of life evidence a discrepancy in the growth patterns of children with birth weights below 2,500 grams, compared to those with normal birth weights (Binkin et al., 1988; Casey et al., 1991). Poor growth resulting from intrauterine, neonatal, or postnatal growth failure has been documented widely among children with birth weights below 1,500 grams (Binkin et al., 1988; Casey et al., 1991). Studies performed with adolescents who with birth weights less than 2,500 grams suggest that their anthropometric measurements are lower than those of adolescents with normal birth weights. Similarly, a study by Peralta-Carcelen and colleagues (2000) showed lower growth measures for adolescents born at birth weights less than 1,000 grams who survived without a major neurodevelopmental disability, compared to those with normal birth weights.
However, other studies suggest that there is catch-up growth. Hack and colleagues (1984) found that catch-up growth occurs during the first 2