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Pediatr Obes. 2017 Dec;12(6):439-445. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12162. Epub 2016 May 30.

Mid-upper arm circumference as a screening tool for identifying children with obesity: a 12-country study.

Author information

1
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.
2
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, USA.
3
Department of Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
4
St. Johns Research Institute, Bangalore, India.
5
Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
6
Alliance for Research in Exercise Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
7
CIFI2D, Faculdade de Desporto, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
8
Centro de Estudos do Laboratório de Aptidão Física de São Caetano do Sul (CELAFISCS), Sao Paulo, Brazil.
9
Department of Recreation Management and Exercise Science, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
10
School of Medicine, Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.
11
Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
12
Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, USA.
13
Tianjin Women's and Children's Health Center, Tianjin, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

No studies have examined if mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) can be an alternative screening tool for obesity in an international sample of children differing widely in levels of human development.

OBJECTIVE:

Our aim is to determine whether MUAC could be used to identify obesity in children from 12 countries in five major geographic regions of the world.

METHODS:

This observational, multinational cross-sectional study included 7337 children aged 9-11 years. Anthropometric measurements were objectively assessed, and obesity was defined according to the World Health Organization reference data.

RESULTS:

In the total sample, MUAC was strongly correlated with adiposity indicators in both boys and girls (r > 0.86, p < 0.001). The accuracy level of MUAC for identifying obesity was high in both sexes and across study sites (overall area under the curve of 0.97, sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 90%). The MUAC cut-off value to identify obesity was ~25 cm for both boys and girls. In country-specific analyses, the cut-off value to identify obesity ranged from 23.2 cm (boys in South Africa) to 26.2 cm (girls in the UK).

CONCLUSIONS:

Results from this 12-country study suggest that MUAC is a simple and accurate measurement that may be used to identify obesity in children aged 9-11 years. MUAC may be a promising screening tool for obesity in resource-limited settings.

KEYWORDS:

Adiposity; arm circumference; body mass index; children

PMID:
27238202
DOI:
10.1111/ijpo.12162
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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