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Table 5 Effect of accounting for gestational age using gestational age-corrected age with INTERGROWTH-21st reference/standards at birth and World Health Organization growth standards postnatally, compared to using postnatal age in the application of World Health Organization growth standards at all ages on the nutritional status of children < 5 years of age in a simulated cross-sectional sample.a

From: Effect of correcting for gestational age at birth on population prevalence of early childhood undernutrition

Standard at birth Age-scale used in the application of WHO-GS at postnatal visits N Mean ± SD Overall undernourishedb n (%) Term-born children (≥ 370/7 weeks) Preterm-born children (< 370/7 weeks) Odds of undernutrition among preterm versus term-born children % PARc
n Undernourished n (%) n Undernourished n (%) OR (95% CI)
Length-for-age z scores
 WHO-GS Postnatal age for all 3749 − 0.30 ± 1.24 262 (6.98) 3327 158 (4.76) 422 104 (24.5) 6.54 (4.97, 8.59) 31.9
 IG-VPBR and IG-NS Postnatal age for all 3749 − 0.23 ± 1.17 231 (6.15) 3327 168 (5.05) 422 63 (14.8) 3.29 (2.41, 4.49) 17.9
 IG-VPBR and IG-NS CA for CBP, postnatal age for TBC 3749 − 0.18 ± 1.15 202 (5.39) 3327 168 (5.05) 422 34 (8.01) 1.65 (1.12, 2.42) 6.20
Weight-for-age z scores
 WHO-GS Postnatal age for all 3766 − 0.18 ± 1.31 255 (6.76) 3325 150 (4.51) 441 105 (23.7) 6.62 (5.03, 8.70) 33.3
 IG-VPBR and IG-NS Postnatal age for all 3766 − 0.09 ± 1.23 213 (5.66) 3325 155 (4.65) 441 59 (13.3) 3.15 (2.29, 4.33) 17.8
 IG-VPBR and IG-NS CA for CBP, postnatal age for TBC 3766 − 0.05 ± 1.20 188 (4.99) 3325 155 (4.65) 441 33 (7.53) 1.68 (1.14, 2.47) 6.76
Weight-for-length z scores   3676 0.12 ± 1.24 145 (3.93) 3291 120 (3.64) 385 25 (6.46) 1.84 (1.18, 2.88) 7.55
  1. CA gestational age-corrected age, CBP children born preterm, CI confidence interval, GA gestational age, IG-NS INTERGROWTH 21st newborn size standards, IG-VPBR INTERGROWTH 21st very preterm size at birth references, OR odds ratio, PAR population attributable risk, TBC term-born children, WHO-GS World Health Organization child growth standards
  2. aAverage estimates based on 500 iterations of cross-sectional samples of children randomly selected at one follow-up visit
  3. bChildren with length-for-age z scores < −2 SD (stunted) and/or weight-for-age z scores < −2 SD (underweight) are collectively referred to as ‘undernourished’
  4. cProportion undernourished in the population due to preterm birth