Considerations and approaches in determining the protein and energy composition of preterm infant formulas

Silvia Fanaro, Gloria Cristofori, Fabio Mosca, Francesco Savino, Vittorio Vigi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optimal early nutritional support is considered a crucial issue in the care of the preterm infant, particularly of those with very low- or extremely low-birthweight. Unfortunately, this goal is seldom satisfactorily attained. Several conditions such as hypoxia, acidosis, patent ductus arteriosus, drug therapy, reduced intestinal motility may interfere with an adequate nutritional delivery in the early neonatal period. Moreover, there is still concern about metabolic and intestinal tolerance of the currently suggested intakes and a lack of uniformity in the nutritional program among different NICUs. Finally, the vast majority of the available preterm formulas are not fully adequate to the real nutritional needs of these infants. Inadequate protein content and inappropriate protein energy ratio of most preterm formulas represent a matter of major concern, since there is a strict relationship between formula composition and the quantity and quality of weight gain. As a consequence there is a need of at least two milk formulas for different preterm infants: one for LBW and VLBW infants, the other for preterm infants weighing >1500 g.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics, Supplement
Issue number449
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Preterm formulas
  • Preterm infant
  • Protein requirements
  • Protein/energy ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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