(i) To assess diagnostic accuracy of mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) for screening thinness and severe thinness in Indian adolescent girls aged 10–14 and 15–19 years compared with BMI-for-age Z-score (BAZ) <−2 and <−3 as the gold standard and (ii) to identify appropriate MUAC cut-offs for screening thinness and severe thinness in Indian girls aged 10–14 and 15–19 years.
Cross-sectional, conducted October 2016–April 2017.
Four tribal blocks of two eastern India states, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Girls (n 4628) aged 10–19 years. Measurements included height, weight and MUAC to calculate BAZ. Standard diagnostic accuracy tests, receiver–operating characteristic curves and Youden index helped arrive at MUAC cut-offs at BAZ < −2 and <−3, as gold standard.
Mean MUAC and BMI correlation was positive (0·78, P = 0·001 and r2 = 0·61). Among 10–14 years, MUAC cut-off corresponding to BAZ < −2 and BAZ < −3 was ≤19·4 and ≤18·9 cm. Among 15–19 years, corresponding values were ≤21·6 and ≤20·7 cm. For both BAZ < −2 and BAZ < −3, specificity was higher in 15–19 v. 10–14 years. State-wise variations existed. MUAC cut-offs ranged from 17·7 cm (10 years) to 22·5 cm (19 years) for BAZ < −2, and from 17·0 cm (10 years) to 21·5 cm (19 years) for BAZ < −3. Single-age area under the curve range was 0·82–0·97.
Study provides a case for use of year-wise and sex-wise context-specific MUAC-cut-offs for screening thinness/severe thinness in adolescents, rather than one MUAC cut-off across 10–19 years, depending on purpose and logistic constraints.
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