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Low Birth Weight Tied to Hip Replacement in Adulthood – NYTimes.com.

Low Birth Weight Tied to Hip Replacement in Adulthood

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR  NOVEMBER 6, 2014 10:20 AMNovember 6, 2014 10:20 am 1 Comment

Low birth weight and preterm birth significantly increase the risk for hip replacement in adulthood, a new study has found.

Australian researchers tracked 3,604 participants in a large health study, of whom 116 needed knee replacement and 75 hip replacement for osteoarthritis after age 40. The study is in Arthritis Care & Research.

After controlling for age, sex, body mass index, education level, hypertension, smoking and physical activity, they found that preterm birth doubled the risk for hip replacement. Low birth weight increased the risk by 250 percent. They found no association with knee replacement.

The reasons are unclear, but there is some evidence that prematurity and low birth weight can result in abnormal hip development or lower bone mineral density.

Previous studies have linked prematurity to other problems in adulthood, including hypertension, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. This is the first study to find an association with hip arthritis.

The senior author, Dr. Flavia M. Cicuttini, a rheumatologist at Monash University in Melbourne, said that the findings still need to be confirmed.

“There isn’t enough evidence now to change practice,” she said. “But we know that congenital hip disease in children can proceed to osteoarthritis later. It may be that eventually we will introduce simple interventions for all premature infants like the double-diapering that is now recommended for much more serious congenital hip deformations.”

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