Published on September 21, 2006 at 5:55 AM
"Healthcare professionals need to consider a number of biological and environmental factors as part of their assessment. These include current health problems, age at delivery, length of stay in the neonatal intensive care unit and the educational level of the primary caregiver."
Children ranging from 36 to 53 months were included in the study, supported by Taiwan's National Science Council. 57 per cent were boys.
252 mothers, 33 fathers and three other caregivers took part in the questionnaire-based study, which was carried out using a Mandarin language version of a quality of life instrument developed in the Netherlands.
The 118 very low birth weight children were less than 1500g (three pounds and five ounces) and were cared for in the neonatal intensive care units of four hospitals in northern Taiwan. The survival rate for babies in this weight range is just over 76 per cent in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the control group were children who attended preschools and weighed at least 2500g (five pounds and eight ounces) or more at birth.
The mothers of very low birth-weight babies tended to be younger than the mothers in the control group, and were half as likely to be educated to college degree or higher. 45 per cent didn't work, compared with 17 per cent in the control group.