Monitoring nutritional status accurately and reliably in adolescents with anorexia nervosa
Article first published online: 19 JAN 2009
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 45, Issue 1-2, pages 53–57, January/February 2009
How to Cite
Martin, A. C., Pascoe, E. M. and Forbes, D. A. (2009), Monitoring nutritional status accurately and reliably in adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 45: 53–57. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2008.01427.x
- Issue published online: 19 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 19 JAN 2009
- Accepted for publication 30 June 2008.
- anorexia nervosa;
- mid-upper arm circumference
Aim: Accurate assessment of nutritional status is a vital aspect of caring for individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and body mass index (BMI) is considered an appropriate and easy to use tool. Because of the intense fear of weight gain, some individuals may attempt to mislead the physician. Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is a simple, objective method of assessing nutritional status. The setting is an eating disorders clinic in a tertiary paediatric hospital in Western Australia. The aim of this study is to evaluate how well MUAC correlates with BMI in adolescents with AN.
Methods: Prospective observational study to evaluate nutritional status in adolescents with AN.
Results: Fifty-five adolescents aged 12–17 years with AN were assessed between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2006. MUAC was highly correlated with BMI (r = 0.79, P < 0.001) and individuals with MUAC ≥20 cm rarely required hospitalisation (negative predictive value 93%).
Conclusions: MUAC reflects nutritional status as defined by BMI in adolescents with AN. Lack of consistency between longitudinal measurements of BMI and MUAC should be viewed suspiciously and prompt a more detailed nutritional assessment.