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Comparing apples with apples: it is time for standardized reporting of neonatal nutrition and growth studies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas EmbletonORCiD


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The ultimate goal of neonatal nutrition care is optimal growth, neurodevelopment, and long-term health for preterm babies. International consensus is that increased energy and protein intakes in the neonatal period improve growth and neurodevelopment, but after more than 100 y of research the optimum intakes of energy and protein remain unknown. We suggest an important factor contributing to the lack of progress is the lack of a standardized approach to reporting nutritional intake data and growth in the neonatal literature. We reviewed randomized controlled trials and observational studies documented in MEDLINE and the Web of Science from 2008 to 2015 that compared approximately 3 vs. 4 protein for preterm babies in the first month after birth. Consistency might be expected in the calculation of nutritional intake and assessment of growth outcomes in this relatively narrow scope of neonatal nutrition research. Twenty-two studies were reviewed. There was substantial variation in methods used to estimate and calculate nutritional intakes and in the approaches used in reporting these intakes and measures of infant growth. Such variability makes comparisons amongst studies difficult and meta-analysis unreliable. We propose the StRONNG Checklist-Standardized Reporting Of Neonatal Nutrition and Growth to address these issues.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cormack BE, Embleton ND, van Goudoever JB, Hay WW, Bloomfield FH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pediatric Research

Year: 2016

Volume: 79

Issue: 6

Pages: 810-820

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Online publication date: 11/02/2016

Acceptance date: 09/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0031-3998

ISSN (electronic): 1530-0447



DOI: 10.1038/pr.2016.26