Mid upper arm circumference and weight for height z-score as screening tools for acute malnutrition in underweight children <5 years of age
Background: Malnutrition is a major risk factor for childhood morbidity and mortality. Mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) is a simple and easy to perform method and now it is considered as a surrogate marker of malnutrition. The objective of this study was to assess the utility of MUAC in detecting acute malnutrition in comparison to weight for height Z-score (WHZ) in underweight children below 5 years of age. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Paediatrics Department, Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbottabad. A total of 200 underweight patients aged 6 months to 5 years were included in the study. Weight for height Z-score and weight for age were determined using WHO child standard growth charts after documenting their growth parameters. The data was analyzed using SPSS-22. Result: Out of 200 patients, 104 (52%) were male and 96 (48%) were female. The mean age was 24.37±16.55 months. Overall 66% children had MUAC below 12.5 Cm while 34% children had MUAC above 12.5 Cm. A total of 116 (58%) children were less than -2SD for WHZ and 84 (42%) were above -2SD WHZ. Conclusion: MUAC is a simple, cheap and easy to perform method to quickly screen children with acute malnutrition and it is more specific then WHZ using the cut-off point of <12.5 Cm. MUAC is more specific in detecting acute malnutrition in younger infants as compared to older children.
Pak J Physiol 2020;16(1):6–9
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