Babies born prematurely or with an otherwise low birthweight are up to three times as likely to suffer from hyperactivity or low attention span disorders, say researchers writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
The researchers, from Denmark, based their study on a comparison of birth records of children with confirmed attention disorders with those of children with no mental disorders. They found that children born at between 34 and 36 weeks were around 70 percent more likely to develop disorders than children born at full-term. Incredibly, babies born below 34 weeks were almost three times as likely to develop disorders.
But even full-term babies were at risk, said the article. Babies born at term, but weighing 1500 to 2499 g at birth were 90 percent more likely to develop disorders, while those weighing between 2500 and 2999 g were 50 percent more likely when compared to babies weighing over 2999 g at birth.
Single parenthood, social and economic deprivation, and young age at parenthood were all risk factors for attention and hyperactivity disorders, but the results still held true even after these had been taken into account, noted the researchers.
Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood