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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


MUNOZ-ESPARZA, Nelly C; VASQUEZ-GARIBAY, Edgar M; LARROSA-HARO, Alfredo  and  ROMERO-VELARDE, Enrique. Relationship of anthropometric indexes and indicators of body composition by arm anthropometry on hospitalized pediatric patients. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2019, vol.36, n.3, pp.611-617.  Epub Feb 17, 2020. ISSN 1699-5198.


the purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship of arm anthropometric indicators with direct indicators of nutritional status in hospitalized pediatric patients.


an analytical cross-sectional study with 760 patients hospitalized in the Pediatric Division of the Nuevo Hospital Civil de Guadalajara during 2014 was used. The anthropometric indices were weight/length, weight/height, weight/age, length/age, height/age, head circumference/age and body mass index (BMI)/age. The arm indicators were mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), total arm area (TAA), arm muscle area (AMA), arm fat area (AFA) and fat percentage (FP). The ANOVA, Kruskall-Wallis, Mann-Whitney U and Pearson's correlation tests and also odds ratios were used to identify the probability of nutritional status impairment.


the prevalence of acute and chronic malnutrition was higher in infants (31% and 30%, respectively). With arm areas (TAA, AMA, AFA), the risk of deficit (≤ -2DE) was higher in infants and early preschoolers (p < 0.001). The correlation between the anthropometric indexes and the arm areas was direct and significant (p < 0.001). The BMI variability was explained in 68% by the AMA, AFA, and FP (p < 0.001); the variability of the height/age index was also explained in 34% by the AMA and AFA (p < 0.001).


it is possible to diagnose both a chronic and acute deficit using the indirect indicators of the arm, while the body mass index only reflects an acute deficit. Therefore, arm areas would be more useful indicators in the assessment of nutritional status and the diagnosis of chronic-acute malnutrition in hospitalized pediatric patients.

Keywords : Malnutrition; Body composition; Anthropometric indexes; Arm indicators; Pediatrics.

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