According to researchers from Johns Hopkins Children's Center,an infant with low birth weight carries particles in the blood that canlower the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol thatit produces. These particles in the blood contain apolipoprotein C-1,known for lowering HDL, or good cholesterol. Blood from the umbilicalcords of 163 infants born at 28 or more gestational weeks andat approximately 1.3 lb less than normal weight were analyzed.Researchers found higher levels of apolipoprotein C-1 in 19% ofthese infants.
Low birth weight and higher-than-normal levels of this substancehave been associated with the death of the heart's smooth-musclecells. These cells are important to protecting the circulatory systemfrom artery-clogging plaque, which can lead to a heart attack.Researchers concluded that it is important to check C-1 levels inlow-birth-weight infants, and that these children should eat low-fatdiets to reduce their risk of heart disease.