Aims: The purpose of this study is to determine the growth pattern of upper arm muscle area (UAMA), upper arm fat area (UAFA) and upper arm muscle area by height (UAMAH) and assessment of magnitude of undernutrition on the basis of these parameters in Santal children.
Methods: UAMA and UAFA of 890 (473 boys and 417 girls) Santal children aged 5–12 years were calculated from mid-upper arm circumference and triceps skinfold.
Results: Growth curves of UAFA-for-age and UAMA by height in Santal boys and girls are placed at lower level of reference curve indicating severe undernutrition. The growth curves of UAMA-for-age in Santal children of both sexes do not indicate severe undermutrition. 17.13% Santal boys and 20.63% girls were truly undernourished on the basis of three Z-scores of height-for-age, weight-for-height and UAMAH of each subject. Santal children have more UAMA and less UAFA compared to similar undernourished children of Sugalis.
Conclusion: Growth curves of UAFA-for-age and UAMA by height are good indicators of nutritional status in Santal children. UAMA and UAFA may not be similarly affected in undernourished children of every community. A comprehensive approach to identify the truly undernourished child has been suggested from this study.