The use of armspan measurement to assess the nutritional status of adults in four Ethiopian ethnic groups


de Lucia, E; Lemma, F; Tesfaye, F; Demisse, T; Ismail, S; (2002) The use of armspan measurement to assess the nutritional status of adults in four Ethiopian ethnic groups. European journal of clinical nutrition, 56 (2). pp. 91-95. ISSN 0954-3007

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Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the use of armspan as a proxy for height in the assessment of nutritional status using body mass index (BMI) for four ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Four regions in Ethiopia, namely Oromia, Amhara, Tigre and Somali Region. Subjects: A total of 1706 (884 males and 822 females) Ethiopians aged 18-50 y from four different ethnic groups. Methods: Anthropometric measurements (weight, height and armspan) were obtained using standard techniques. BMI using height (BMI-ht) and using armspan (BMI-as) were calculated, t-tests were used to compare means, and linear regression to investigate the relationship between BMI-ht and BMI-as. Results: Ethnic and sex differences in the relationship between height and armspan, and their derived variables (BMI-ht and BMI-as), were found. Armspan and height (r = 0.83 - 0.9), and BMI-ht and BMI-as (r = 0.89 - 0.97), were highly correlated in all ethnic groups. BMI-as cut-offs equivalent to the conventional BMI-ht classification of chronic energy deficiency were similar in the Oromo, Amhara and Tigre, but substantially higher in the Somalis. Conclusion: Armspan can be used as a proxy for height to estimate BMI, but the relationship between the two measures varies considerably with ethnicity and sex. Unless sex- and ethnicity-specific cut-offs are applied, the use of BMI-as using conventional cut-offs will overestimate the prevalence of underweight in these populations.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Web of Science ID: 173810400001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1259403

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