1. bookVolume 84 (2021): Issue 3 (September 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Validating mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) cut off points as an indicator of nutritional status among nine tribal populations of India

Published Online: 01 Oct 2021
Page range: 301 - 315
Received: 04 May 2021
Accepted: 13 Aug 2021
Journal Details
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is an alternative anthropometric measurement to assess undernutrition but a universally accepted cut-off is yet to be established. The objectives of the present study are to determine whether the proposed sex-specific global cut-offs are suitable across several tribes in India. This cross-sectional study was conducted among nine tribal populations in India (1046 males, 1087 females). Weight, height and MUAC values were obtained, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. The BMI cut-off (<18.5 kg/m2) was used to determine chronic energy deficiency (CED). The ROC Curve analyses of binomial logistic regression for MUAC versus CED revealed optimal cut-off point of MUAC as 23.8 cm (in males) and 21.8 cm (in females). MUAC cut-offs were similar in females, relative to males, in all tribes. Males with MUAC<24cm and females with MUAC<22 encompassed significantly higher numbers of CED than those with MUAC≥24 and ≥22 cm, respectively (χ2-value males: 254.9, p<0.001; females: 493.60, p<0.01). A single cut off point of MUAC may not be universally applicable for diverse populations and both sexes as well. It seemed that there is no alternative than to undertake further validation studies in various populations before using the MUAC cut off to identify undernourished or CED condition.


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