OBJECTIVE: To compare functional outcomes of 7-year-old (school-age) children born small for gestational age (SGA; ie, a birth weight z score ≤ -1 SD), with appropriate for gestational age (AGA) peers, born moderately preterm or full term.
STUDY DESIGN: Data were collected as part of the Longitudinal Preterm Outcome Project study, a community-based, prospective cohort study of 336 AGA and 42 SGA born children (median gestational age 35 weeks, range 31-41). Of the SGA children, 32 were moderately preterm, 10 were full term; of the AGA, these numbers were 216 and 120, respectively. At 6.9 years, we assessed intelligence, verbal memory, attention, visuomotor integration, and motor skills and we collected the parent-reported executive functioning. We compared the outcomes of the SGA children with those of their AGA peers.
RESULTS: The performance of SGA children was similar to that of their AGA peers, except for attention control which was abnormal more often in SGA children (OR 3.99, 95% CI 1.32-12.12). The IQ of SGA children was 3 points lower, but this difference failed to reach significance.
CONCLUSIONS: At school age, children born SGA have a greater risk of abnormal test scores on attention control than children born AGA, independent of gestational age. Their motor and many other cognitive functions are similar. The impact of these outcomes seems limited. Nevertheless, the consequences for school performance deserve attention.