Premature babies are more likely to die during early childhood and young adulthood than their full-term born peers,according to a new study.
Casey Crump,M.D.,Ph.D.,of Stanford University,and colleagues looked at data on more than 600,000 people born in Sweden between 1973 and 1979.
The researchers found a strong inverse association between gestational age at birth and mortality in early childhood (ages 1-5 years).
In other words,children were more likely to die in their first five years the more prematurely they were born.
That link disappeared in late childhood and adolescence,but then re-emerged in early adulthood — from 18 to 36 years.
Preterm birth was associated with increased mortality even among individuals born late preterm (34-36 weeks),relative to those born full-term.
The health problems linked to earlier death included heart disease,diabetes and asthma.
It appears that some of these causes have a long period of development, Crump said.
The study was recently published in the journal JAMA.