Babies with very low birth weight (1500g or less) suffer associated problems such as higher rates of insulin resistance, glucose intolerance during childhood and increased blood pressure, compared to those born with normal weight.

This is clear from a clinical trial recently published in The New England journal of Medicine, in which blood pressure, serum lipid levels and body composition were measured by densitometry, resulting in an increase in glucose concentration, in addition to an increase in the index of insulin resistance and systolic blood pressure.

This study concludes that newborn babies weighing less than 1500 grams are associated with signs of impaired glucose regulation during youth. This finding suggests that, over time, these people may be more vulnerable to disorders such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Insulin: What is it for?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, whose primary function is to help the body use the glucose contained in food as a source of energy to perform the various organic functions.

Sometimes the body does not react as it should to insulin and a situation known as insulin resistance occurs. To compensate, the pancreas increases the production of insulin, leading to hyperinsulinemia, which increases the levels of insulin in the blood. However, the body still does not respond to insulin and, therefore, continues to not use glucose properly.

It is common for insulin resistance to be associated with other conditions such as:

  • Increase in triglycerides.
  • Increase in glucose
  • Elevation of blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Decrease in good cholesterol (HDL).

To prevent this pathology and its possible consequences, experts advise a balanced diet and perform moderate physical exercise regularly.

Public Health Strategies to Prevent Preterm Birth (November 2019).