INTRODUCTION: The aim of study was to examine the musculoskeletal system of the very preterm (VP) and mild preterm (MP) born children and to compare them with their term born peers.
METHODS: Children born with VP and MP between January 1998 and April 2003, whose contact information was available from patient records, were included in our study. The control group consisted of volunteers who were admitted to the Department of Child Health and Diseases during the study. Skeletal muscle mass, fat free mass, posture and physical fitness of all participants were assessed.
RESULTS: Eighteen (28.2%) VP, 23 (35.9%) MP and 23 (35.9%) term born children were included in this study. Total posture score was 6.0 [3.5] in the VP group, 5.0 [5.0] in the MP group and 4.0 [2.0] in the term group and the difference between VP and term group was significant (p=0.004). Munich Physical Fitness Test score was 44.0±6.3 in the VP group, 45.6±4.8 in the MP group and 51.9±3.8 in the term group and the difference between VP and term groups and between MP and term groups was significant (p=0.001 and p=0.001, respectively).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The musculoskeletal system of the VP and MP born school age children is affected negatively in comparison to their term peers. This situation suggests that very and MP born children later on may have potential health problems originated from musculoskeletal system.