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Assessment of Marginal Malnutrition


Kanawati and McLaren have proposed that the ratio of midarm circumference to head circumference is a measure of marginal malnutrition1. Midarm circumference can indeed be used as a rapid and cheap indicator of severe protein–calorie malnutrition (PCM)2,3 if measurements can be compared with standards for children of the same age. But in many areas parents do not know the precise age of their children. In such cases, arm muscles mass, which reflects body protein status, may have to be appraised in community studies by comparison with body tissues which reflect age but which are less affected by PCM. These ratios are less precise than arm circumference related to age because the normal growth rates of the indirect parameters differ from that of arm circumference. They are also affected by nutritional status to some extent.

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  1. 1

    Kanawati, A. A., and McLaren, D. S., Nature, 228, 573 (1970).

  2. 2

    Jelliffe, D. B., and Jelliffe, E. F. P., Amer. J. Public Health, 50, 1355 (1960).

  3. 3

    Jelliffe, E. F. P., and Jelliffe, D. B., J. Trop. Pediatrics, 15, 177 (1969).

  4. 4

    Bradfield, R. B., and Jelliffe, E. F. P., Nature, 225, 283 (1970).

  5. 5

    Bradfield, R. B., Amer. J. Clin. Nutrit, 24, 405 (1971).

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