Nutritional Indices in Adults

Human Nutrition 3(3+0)
Lesson 47 : Assessment of Nutritional Status

Nutritional Indices in Adults

  • BMI is computed using the following formula:

BMI = Weight (kg)/ Height (m²)

Nutritional status


Severe energy deficiency

? 16

Moderate energy deficiency


Marginal energy deficiency




Overweight (grade 1 obesity)


Obese (grade 2 obesity)


Very obese (morbid or grade 3 obesity)


  • Mid-arm circumference (MAC)

Level of severity/Nutritional status

MAC cut off points

severe malnutrition

<110 mm

moderate malnutrition

110 -120 mm

serious risk of malnutrition

120 -125 mm

moderate risk of malnutrition

125 -135 mm

satisfactory nutritional status

? 135 mm

  • Skin fold thickness
    Skin fold thickness is usually measured on the back of the arm, over the triceps muscle midway between the tip of shoulder and the elbow.
  • Various types of skin-fold calipers are available. The caliper should have standard contact surface or pinch area of 20-40mm, should read to 0.1mm accuracy and exert a constant pressure of 10gm/mm2 throughout the whole range of skin fold thickness at all distances of separation of the jaws.

  • Head circumference (HC)
  • Head/chest ratio
    • <1 ----------- Mal nutrition
    • >1 ------------ Normal

Waist/Hip Ratio (WHR)

  • High risk WHR= >0.80 for females & >0.95 for males. Waist measurement >80% of hip measurement for women and >95% for men indicates central (upper body) obesity and is considered high risk for diabetes & CVS disorders.

Waist circumference

  • Waist circumference predicts mortality better than any other anthropometric measurement.
  • It has been proposed that waist measurement alone can be used to assess obesity, and two levels of risk have been identified

Males Female
Level 1 > 94cm > 80cm- maximum acceptable
Level 2 > 102cm > 88cm- obesity and requires weight management
Last modified: Wednesday, 15 February 2012, 10:21 AM