A Comparison of the Performance of the Midarm Circumference and the Nelson Weight Estimation Formulas in Nigerian Children

  • Obianuju O. Igbokwe
  • Chidiebere D.I. Osuorah
  • Ikenna K. Ndu
  • Ogochukwu N. Iloh
  • Kenechukwu K. Iloh
  • Ezinne I. Nwaneli
  • Obinna C. Nduagubam
  • Benedict O. Edelu
  • Linda Nwokeji-Onwe
  • Chikodi F. Anarado
Keywords: Actual weight, children, comparison, formulae, mid‑arm circumference, nelson


Background: In emergencies, two commonly used weight estimation methods are Nelson and mid‑arm circumference (MAC)‑based formulae. Nelson’s method requires the child’s age while the MAC formula offers weight estimation without any prior details of the child, which is useful in our environment due to the lack of proper vital statistics documentation.

Methodology: We measured the weight, height, and MAC of 1390 children aged 1–12 years. Values got from the measurements were substituted in MAC and Nelson formulae for weight estimation. The estimated weights were compared to the actual weights of the children.

Results: Atotal of 1390 children were enrolled. The mean of enrolled children’s actual weight was significantly higher than the mean weight estimated using MAC and Nelson formula. MAC method overestimated weight in children 1–7 years and underestimated weight in those 8–12 years old. On the other hand, the Nelson formula underestimated weights in children 2–11 years and overestimated weight in 1 and 12-year olds.

Conclusions: Both the MAC and Nelson method have their deficiencies in weight estimation. Though the Nelson formula  appears slightly more accurate than the MAC, weight estimates from both methods were mostly within the actual weight agreement limits.

Keywords: Actual weight, children, comparison, formulae, mid‑arm circumference, nelson


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2667-0526
print ISSN: 1115-2613