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Over the past decades metabolic balance studies have been extensively used for the purpose of determining the retention rates of nutrients ingested by neonates. Traditionally, data derived from these studies have been used to estimate nutritional requirements in both full-term and premature infants. This article provides a historical review of the methodology used in classic metabolic balance studies performed in neonates since 1955. In addition, descriptions of new methodologies that improve the reliability and reproducibility of metabolic balance studies conducted in premature infants that include: (1) the recognition that an acclimation period of steady and sufficient energy intake is necessary prior to the initiation of the balance study; (2) the use of a minimum period of 72 hours for the total duration of balance study; and (3) the use of stool markers to time the period. Also described in this article are the retention rates of calcium and fat that were measured in premature infants by means of metabolic balance studies conducted with the use of recommended methodology.
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This work was supported, in part, by Ross Laboratories, Columbus, OH
© 1995 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.