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anthropometry for adolescents?

This question was posted the Adolescent nutrition forum area and has 2 replies.

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Emily Mates

Technical Director

Normal user

29 Jun 2018, 10:13

Is anyone measuring anthropometry on adolescents at the moment, and if so, what are they using (MUAC?) and what reference values? Are there any particular challenges you are facing with measuring anthropometry of adolescents?


Technical expert

29 Jun 2018, 17:08

Hi, this is a great question and something I have also been grappling with recently.

My previous research has focussed on adolescent stunting, so thats easy - there is a WHO height-for-age reference up to 19 years. But wasting is more difficult to define. I know some agencies use MUAC<23cm for pregnant and lactating women, so I proposed using this in an upcoming study of adolescent girls, however we later changed to use BMI<18.5 because the ethics committee felt this was more established and used in the (Asian) setting.

Would be great to hear other experience too!

Emily Keats

Senior research associate

Technical expert

29 Jun 2018, 19:16

WHO has a BMI-for-age growth chart that goes up to age 19, which may be more appropriate than using the discrete cut-offs of <18.5, >25 and >30 to represent underweight, overweight, and obese for adolescents. As Tash mentioned, WHO also has a growth chart for height-for-age. MUAC isn't a recommended measure to use because there are no reference values.

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