Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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Use of upper-arm anthropometry as measure of body-composition and nutritional assessment in children and adolescents (6-20 years) of Assam, northeast India

S Jaswant, M Nitish


BACKGROUND: Upper-arm muscle area (UMA), upper-arm fat area (UFA), arm-fat index (AFI), upper-arm fat estimate (UFE) and upper-arm muscle estimate (UME) was introduced for the assessment of body-composition. This cross-sectional study assessed age-sex specific upper-arm  composition and nutritional status among children and adolescents.
METHODS: The present cross-sectional study was conducted among 1545 (770 boys; 775 girls) Sonowal Kacharis of Dibrugarh District, Assam, Northeast-India, using multi-stage stratified random sampling method. The anthropometric measurements of height, weight, triceps and  mid-upper-arm circumference were recorded. The upper-arm composition was assessed using standard equations. Nutritional status was assessed using standard classification of upper-arm muscle-area by height (UAMAH) and thinness (low BMI-for-age).
RESULTS: Age and sex-specific muscularity were found significantly greater among boys than girls (p<0.01), while adiposity was significantly greater among girls (p<0.01), particularly when they approached to puberty. The overall prevalence of low and below-average UAMAH was found to be 16.38% and 22.65% respectively. The overall prevalence of thinness was 23.69% (26.36% boys, 21.03% girls) (p>0.05).
CONCLUSION: Body-composition and nutritional status of these children and adolescents were found markedly unsatisfactory using upper-arm composition, UAMAH and thinness. The combination of upper-arm  composition and conventional anthropometric measures appear to be useful for bodycomposition and nutritional status assessment.
KEY WORDS: Upper-arm Muscle Area, Upper-arm Fat Area, Upper-arm anthropometry, Upper-arm muscle-area by Height, Northeast-India, Malnutrition, Child Health
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