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Concordance between estimates of acute malnutrition measured by weight-for-height and by mid-upper arm circumference after age adjustment: population-representative surveys from humanitarian settings
BMC Nutrition Pub Date : 2019-08-19 , DOI: 10.1186/s40795-019-0301-z
Eva Leidman; Alexia Couture; Erin Hulland; Oleg Bilukha

Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) and weight-for-height (WHZ) are commonly used indicators to identify acute malnutrition. However, MUAC and WHZ diagnose different children, and produce prevalence estimates that are meaningfully different. Previous research in Somalia has suggested improved concordance using MUAC-for-age (MUACZ) rather than MUAC. We further evaluate the relationship between MUACZ, MUAC, and WHZ using surveys conducted globally. We analyzed 882 population representative surveys from 41 countries. Children ages 6–59 months were classified as acutely malnourished using three independent criteria: WHZ < − 2 (WHZ2), MUAC< 125 mm (MUAC125), MUACZ < − 2 (MUACZ2). Population prevalence using each of the three criteria are presented by country and region. Correlations of survey prevalence for each indicator pair were assessed. Multivariable regression models of MUACZ and MUAC125 adjusted for WHZ2, stunting prevalence, age, and sex. To evaluate individual level diagnostic concordance, we compared the proportion of children identified by each of the three criteria. Median prevalence of acute malnutrition overall was highest for MUACZ2 (14.0%) followed by WHZ2 (10.6%), and lowest for MUAC125 (7.3%). The absolute difference in prevalence between MUACZ2 and WHZ2 was smaller than the difference between MUAC125 and WHZ2 for 51.3% of surveys. The correlations of WHZ2 with both MUACZ2 as well as with MUAC125 were weak, positive associations (Pearson’s r = 0.5757 and 0.4943, respectively), but MUAC125 and MUACZ2 had a strong, linear relationship (Pearson’s r = 0.9265). The adjusted regression model for MUACZ2 had greater fit (R2 = 0.50) relative to the adjusted model for MUAC125 (R2 = 0.43). The proportion of children identified by both MUAC125 and WHZ2 was 25.5%, smaller than the proportion identified by both MUACZ2 and WHZ2 (30.6%). MUACZ identified more children as malnourished than MUAC, resulting in a higher prevalence of acute malnutrition in nearly all settings. Prevalence by MUACZ was not consistently more similar to WHZ than that estimated by MUAC, and correlations with WHZ were only slightly improved relative to MUAC. Consequently, programmatic use of MUACZ cannot be justified based on improved concordance with WHZ. Further research on morbidity and mortality of children with low MUACZ only are needed before recommending MUACZ for wider use.
更新日期:2020-04-22

 

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