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Nutrients 2017, 9(12), 1339; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9121339

Choosing Anthropometric Indicators to Monitor the Response to Treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition in Rural Southern Ethiopia—Empirical Evidence

1
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health Uppsala University, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden
2
Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, P.O. Box 26751/1000 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 2 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the assessment of nutritional recovery using the same anthropometric indicator that was used to diagnose severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in children. However, related empirical evidence from low-income countries is lacking. Non-oedematous children (n = 661) aged 6–59 months admitted to a community-based outpatient therapeutic program for SAM in rural southern Ethiopia were studied. The response to treatment in children admitted to the program based on the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement was defined by calculating the gains in average MUAC and weight during the first four weeks of treatment. The children showed significant anthropometric changes only when assessed with the same anthropometric indicator used to define SAM at admission. Children with the lowest MUAC at admission showed a significant gain in MUAC but not weight, and children with the lowest weight-for-height/length (WHZ) showed a significant gain in weight but not MUAC. The response to treatment was largest for children with the lowest anthropometric status at admission in either measurement. MUAC and weight gain are two independent anthropometric measures that can be used to monitor sufficient recovery in children treated for SAM. This study provides empirical evidence from a low-income country to support the recent World Health Organization recommendation. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropometric indicators; monitor response to treatment; severe acute malnutrition; children anthropometric indicators; monitor response to treatment; severe acute malnutrition; children
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Tadesse, A.W.; Tadesse, E.; Berhane, Y.; Ekström, E.-C. Choosing Anthropometric Indicators to Monitor the Response to Treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition in Rural Southern Ethiopia—Empirical Evidence. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1339.

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