Soft Tissues: Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC)

Lesson 2 : Assessment of Nutritional Status- Nutritional anthropometry

Soft Tissues: Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC)

Muscle and fat constitute the soft tissues that vary with deficiency of protein and energy.

Poor musculature and wasting are cardinal features of protein energy malnutrition in early childhood. Mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and calf circumference are recognized to indicate the status of muscle development. The mid-calf and mid upper arm are heavily muscled and approximately circular of the two, the mid-upper arm is considered more feasible as it is simpler and easily accessible in any age and sex and so is practical to measure.

Equipment and technique
The mid upper arm circumference is taken on the left hand. The mid point between the tip of the acromion of scapula and tip of the alecranon of the fore arm bone, ulna is located with the arm flexed at the elbow and marked with a marker pen. Fiber glass tape is used and the reading is taken to the nearest millimeter.

  1. Poor muscle development, muscle wasting are features of all forms of protein energy malnutrition.
  2. Muscle wasting reflects acute current malnutrition.
  3. Useful in determining the mortality risk in children.
  4. It has been reported to correlate well with weight, weight for height and clinical signs.
  5. When measured along with fat fold at triceps, MUAC in addition can be used to calculate Mid Arm Muscle circumference.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 29 November 2011, 10:00 AM