OBJECTIVE To evaluate the clinical value of intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (I-FABP) in full-term newborn infants with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). METHODS Forty-one full-term infants with a confirmed diagnosis of NEC from February 2012 to January 2014 were recruited as case group (stage I: 24 cases; stage II-III: 17 cases). Sixty-two children diagnosed with non-digestive diseases in the same period were recruited as the control group. Serum levels of I-FABP and C-reactive protein (CRP) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The diagnostic value of I-FABP for NEC was assessed using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. RESULTS Stage I and stage II-III cases in the case group had significantly higher serum I-FABP levels than the control group (P<0.05), and stage II-III cases had significantly higher serum I-FABP levels than stage I cases (P<0.05). The area under the ROC curve for serum I-FABP was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.78-0.92), with the optimal cut-off point of 2.25 ng/mL. Under this cut-off point, the sensitivity and specificity were 80.49% and 70.19%, respectively. There was no significant difference in serum CRP level between the case and control groups (P>0.05). CONCLUSIONS In newborn infants with NEC, serum I-FABP level increases significantly in stage I , and it is correlated with the disease severity. Therefore, serum I-FABP can be used as a biomarker for the diagnosis of NEC.