Mid upper arm circumference tapes for assessment of severe acute malnutrition
Crawley J., Mwangome M., Berkley J., Briend A.
Mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) tapes are simple, inexpensive tools that can be used in both community- and facility-based settings to rapidly identify individuals of all ages who are acutely malnourished and at increased risk of death. MUAC measurements provide a useful, standardized assessment of nutritional status for clinical research. In emergency settings, MUAC can be used to identify individuals requiring community management of acute malnutrition or inpatient care, to monitor response to treatment and to guide discharge. MUAC has the added advantage of being less affected by acute dehydration and body shape than weight- based indices. MUAC is a potentially useful tool for diagnosing malnutrition in school-age children and adolescents, a MUAC for age z-score of less than -3 indicating severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and the need for treatment. Definitions of SAM in different age groups are based on the anthropometric measurements that best predict mortality.