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Post a reply: Alternative Nutrition Diagnostics/Assessments

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Weight-for-height z-score and MUAC are the evidence-based norm for identifying, categorizing and treating wasting/acute malnutrition and height-for-age z-score is the standard indicator for stunting. We occasionally see blood tests for screening of micronutrient deficiencies (iron mainly), but this is rarely done at a population level--except for large scale research. We continue to measure proxy indicators of our nutrition, yet technology is advancing faster than we can even comprehend.

With all the laboratory research into finger prick and non-invasive techniques (mass spectrometry, plasma ionization) for understating micronutrient and protein profiles as well as alternative proxy nutrition indicators like handgrip strength tests, I am curious to know what the public health nutrition community's thoughts are on the future of nutrition diagnostics?

What information do we ideally need to know to understand a person's nutrition and be able to act upon it?

Is it necessary to have comprehensive understanding of nutrition status in order to address it effectively?

How relevant are all these individualized assessments/diagnoses at the population level?

Should we be looking at the factors affecting nutrition (dietary intake, gut microbiota, environment, genetics) or focus more on measuring an individuals full nutrition profile?

What are your thoughts on handgrip strength (HGS) compared to MUAC or WHZ in measuring malnutrition? I haven't been able to find much literature on this matter.

I look forward to your thoughts and a critical discussion :)

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