A more efficient body measurement, which may replace the body mass index as a growth standard for health organizations worldwide, has been validated by UF researchers.
James Berkley, a United Kingdom researcher with the KEMRI Centre for Geographic Medical Research, wrote in an email that the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is a simple and accurate substitute to BMI measurements.
By measuring the upper arm, where bone circumference is minimal, scientists get an accurate picture of a patient’s store of nutrients and fat in their body, Berkley said.
“It is much easier and quicker than measuring BMI and performs the same or better in predicting survival,” Berkley said.
Lazarus Mramba, a UF College of Medicine statistician, demonstrated this in his recent study by examining the upper arm circumference and BMI records of several hundred HIV patients from Uganda and Zimbabwe. Mramba then compared both measurements’ accuracies in determining survival rate.
According to the study, MUAC is shown to be as, or more, effective than BMI measurement.
An article from Field Exchange, a site that catalogues researcher meetings, said MUAC was unable to be used in Syria earlier this year due to a lack of a universal reference standard. Mramba’s recent development will mean the MUAC will be standardized for future humanitarian emergencies, Berkley said.