Assessment of thinness based on BMI and MUAC among the adult Jaunsari
A tribal community of Uttarakhand, India
Background: Researchers worldwide have tried to develop alternative measures to assess the nutritional status, especially among adults in developing countries. Body mass index (BMI) is a commonly used technique but sometimes difficult to obtain in large-scale surveys. Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) has been used as an alternative, but data are limited, especially in the Indian context.
Objectives: The objective of the present study was to evaluate the BMI and MUAC of the Jaunsari tribal community of Uttarakhand and to assess whether MUAC is an acceptable proxy for BMI.
Sample and Methods: A total of 303 (male 134, female 169) healthy adult Jaunsari individuals aged 18-60 years from Lakhamandal village of Dehradun district of Uttarakhand, India have been selected. Anthropometric measurements of height (cm), weight (kg), and MUAC (cm) were taken following the standard protocol. Globally accepted cut-off values for thinness were used (BMI<18.5kg/m2 and MUAC<24.0cm). Descriptive statistics, Student’s t-test and Chi-square test were performed. The statistically significant level was set at p<0.05.
Results: The Jaunsari people of Lakhamandal village of Dehradun district are very thin when following the categories developed by WHO (30.4%). Females are on average thinner than males when assessed by BMI and MUAC. Overweight was found in 12.2% of the village’s people. Individuals are two times more likely to be considered thin when classified by MUAC, than if classified by BMI.
Conclusions: Healthy Jaunsari people are on average very thin, but there is already some evidence of overnutrition in a few cases. Thinness when assessed by MUAC is twice as prevalent, than if assessed by BMI.
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