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Arm area measurements as indices of nutritional reserves and body water in African newborns

Arm area measurements as indices of nutritional reserves and body water in African newborns

African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 28(1-2): 5-8

Although application of non-invasive techniques for early evaluation of body water, calorie and protein reserves has been available for more than two decades, there is a dearth of information on the evaluation of extracellular water, protein and calorie reserves in the African newborn. A cross-sectional study of arm area measurements was undertaken in 510 term new-born infants consisting of 318 infants who were normal weight term infants (NWTI) with a mean birth weight of 2898.5 +/- 287.7 g and 192 low birth weight term infants (LBWTI) with a mean birth weight of 2176.5 +/- 194.7 g. The triceps skin fold thickness (TSF), the arm fat area (AFA), percentage of arm area (AFA%) and arm water area (AWA) were significantly greater in females than males weighing > 2500 g at birth (P < 0.05), though the mean birth weight and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) were similar (P > 0.05). With the exception of AFA%, all measured and calculated indices were significantly lower in LBWTI than in the NWTI irrespective of sex (P < 0.05). The measurements may aid detection of newborns at risk of developing malnutrition in an area of the world where childhood undernutrition is common.

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Accession: 048306753

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PMID: 12953978

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