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ISSN: 2690-5760

Journal of Clinical & Community Medicine

Research Article(ISSN: 2690-5760)

Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) Cut-Offs to Diagnose Overweight and Obesity among Adults Volume 2 - Issue 3

Andrew K Amegovu1*, Timothy Chewere3, SusanJokudu2 and Michael Mawadri3

  • 1Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Juba , South Sudan
  • 2Andre Foods South Sudan (AFSS), South Sudan
  • 3Andre Foods International (AFI), Uganda

Received: July 17, 2020   Published: August 27, 2020

Corresponding author: Andrew Kiri Amegovu, University of Juba, Juba, South Sudan

DOI: 10.32474/JCCM.2020.02.000138


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Background: Despite assessment of nutritional status by Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) being easier, requiring less expertise than with Body Mass Index (BMI), there are no internationally recommended cutoffs for the assessment of overweight and obesity in adults. To-date the BMI is the most widely used anthropometric measure as the World Health Organization (WHO) gold standards to diagnose overweight and Obesity (WHO 1995). However, BMI requires some technical skills and therefore limiting its usage. This study explored the use of MUAC as an alternative diagnostic tool for overweight and obesity in adults.

Methods: Anthropometric data obtained from 251 adults was used for the study. Correlation between MUAC and BMI was determined using the Pearson correlation and simple linear regression. The diagnostic accuracy of MUAC was determined using Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curve analysis for WHO standards BMI reference for underweight, overweight and obesity. Youden’s index was used to determine optimal MUAC cut offs from the ROC curve coordinates.

Results: A strong positive correlation between BMI and MUAC is observed [r (249) = 0.8621, p < .0001]. Results showed outstanding diagnostic characteristics of MUAC generated by ROC curves compared with standard BMI reference with diagnostic accuracy of 100% (obesity) and 90% (overweight).

Conclusions: This study suggests MUAC>31.1cm for obesity; MUAC29.9cm to ≤ 31.1cm for overweight; MUAC 25.4cm to<29.9cm for normal weight and MUAC < 25.4cm underweight. MUAC can therefore be used as an alternative to BMI in the diagnosis of obesity and in early detection of overweight in adults.

Keywords: Nutrition assessment in adults; Mid-upper Arm Circumference; Body mass index; Overweight and Obesity


BMI: Body Mass Index; MUAC: Mid-upper-arm-circumference; NGOs: Nongovernmental organisations; ROC curve: Receiver operating characteristic curve; WHO: the World Health Organisation

Abstract| Background| Methods| Results| Discussion| Conclusions| Availability of Data and Materials| Authors’ Contributions| Acknowledgement| Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate| References|