Various nutritional assessment tools are available to assess adult undernutrition, but few are practical in poorly served areas of low-income countries.
Dr Abel Irena and colleagues assessed the relation between midupper arm circumference, weight, body mass index, and clinical assessment for edema in predicting mortality in adults with severe acute undernutrition.
The research team analyzed demographic and anthropometric data that were collected in an observational study of 197 adults.
Participants were aged 18–59 years, and were admitted to a therapeutic feeding center in Ajiep, Southern Sudan, during the height of the 1998 famine.
The mean age of the participants was 40 years, and the mean midupper arm circumference, weight, and body mass index were 16 cm, 5.2 kg, and 13, respectively.
The doctors observed area under the receiver operating curve for midupper arm circumference was higher than those of body mass index and weight.
Mean age, weight, and body mass index on admission did not differ between survivors and nonsurvivors.
|Midupper arm circumference was independently associated with mortality|
|American Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
Midupper arm circumference and edema were independently associated with mortality.
For every 1-cm increase in admission midupper arm circumference, the odds of subsequent mortality decreased by 58%.
Dr Irena's team concluded, "In this study, which was conducted at the height of a major famine among adults with extremely severe grades of undernutrition, midupper arm circumference and edema were better indicators of short-term prognosis than was body mass index."
"Further studies are needed to define a critical midupper arm circumference threshold for the diagnosis of acute adult undernutrition."