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

J-P Chaput, P T Katzmarzyk, J D Barnes, M Fogelholm, G Hu, R Kuriyan, A Kurpad, E V Lambert, C Maher, J Maia, V Matsudo, T Olds, V Onywera, O L Sarmiento, M Standage, C Tudor-Locke, P Zhao, M S Tremblay, ISCOLE Research Group

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21 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Obesity
Volume12
Issue number6
Early online date30 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2017

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    Chaput, J-P., Katzmarzyk, P. T., Barnes, J. D., Fogelholm, M., Hu, G., Kuriyan, R., Kurpad, A., Lambert, E. V., Maher, C., Maia, J., Matsudo, V., Olds, T., Onywera, V., Sarmiento, O. L., Standage, M., Tudor-Locke, C., Zhao, P., Tremblay, M. S., & ISCOLE Research Group (2017). Mid-upper arm circumference as a screening tool for identifying children with obesity: a 12-country study. Pediatric Obesity, 12(6), 439-445. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12162