Body composition analysis to distinguish between fat mass and fat-free mass is an established research approach to assess nutritional status. Within neonatal medicine, preterm infant body composition is linked with later health outcomes including neurodevelopment and cardiometabolic health. Mounting evidence establishing fat-free mass as an indicator of nutritional status, coupled with the availability of testing approaches that are feasible to use in preterm infants, have enhanced interest in measuring body composition in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting. In this paper, we use the concept of clinical utility—the added value of a new methodology over current standard care—as a framework for assessing several existing body composition methodologies with potential for clinical application to preterm neonates. We also use this framework to identify remaining knowledge gaps and prioritize efforts to advance our understanding of clinically-oriented body composition testing in the NICU.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology