Anthropometry muscle wastage in undernutrition. Skinfold thickness is related

Anthropometry Essay


Anthropometry (the use of body measurements to assess nutritional status) is a practical and immediately applicable technique for assessing individual and population health status.  Discuss.

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This essay will explain how different factor can influence the use of anthropometry in fetal growth and child. Growth charts are an essential component of the pediatric toolkit. Their value resides in helping to determine the grade to which physiological needs for growth and development are met during the important childhood period.



 Nutrition assessment is the systematic process of collecting and interpreting information in order to make the decision about the nature and cause of nutrition related to the health issue that effects on individual (British Dietetic association (BDA), 2012).


According to nutritional assessment, anthropometry is an essential tool to evaluate underweight and obesity conditions, which is very important to evaluate risk factor in human health, (Jensen & Rogers, 1998; Visser et al.1998).


 Anthropometric measurements are used to assess the size, proportions, and composition of the human body those measurements obtained, can be used as indicator of health, development and growth/compositions into fetal, Infants, children, adult, old people as a single individual or a whole population. 

Body composition can be organized according to a comprehensive model that consist of five levels: atomic, molecular, cellular, tissues system, and whole body.







Figure one the five body composition levels.



  What nutrition look at is the whole body and it is divided into body fat and fat-free mass.

The most common anthropometry methods are Weight (or mass), Height, Circumferences (head, waist, hip, mid-upper arm, mid-thigh, calf, chest, and neck), Limb lengths (knee height, arm-span, demi-span, half-span), Abdominal diameter, Skinfold thicknesses.

Body measurement used as an index of physiological development and nutrition status; a non-invasive way of assessing body compositions.

Weight for age provides information about the overall nutrition status of children; weight for height is used to detect acute malnutrition; height for age is used to detect chronic malnutrition. Mid-upper arm circumference provides an index of muscle wastage in undernutrition. Skinfold thickness is related to the amount of subcutaneous fat as an index of over-or undernutrition.

Anthropometry measurements can be combine with each other or even some extra information as age and gender to have a clear index and guidelines.





 This technique is Easy-to-administer, does not require expensive equipment it is non-invasive, anthropometry is applicable to the general population and it is available a low cost.

One of the most anthropometry system use is the calculation of BMI (Body mass index) and it is a calculation, which is weight in kilogram divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2), one of the most system that has been adopt by the world health organizations (WHO).





however this technique does not give us enough information of our body compositions, there is a lot of facts that influence it if we use BMI to see if bodybuilder is overweight it definitely shows the person is obese, that is because most of his body weight come from muscle and not actually fat.

If we do a skinfold thickness into two patients to see who is more obese, it will be enough to rank the subject correctly. Two weeks later after having lost some weight, and wanted know which of them had lost more fat, a repeat of the skinfold measurements would not be adequate, because the error of an estimation of fat from skinfolds is large compared with the amount of fat that people lose in two weeks.


WHO adjusted all of this data from BMI in order to make it more clear and accessible divided by ethnics gender age health etc..; For example south Asian have more body fat, while Polynesians tend to have more muscle.



The application of the anthropometry can be used in different contexts such as Children,


The primary index of growth is the size of the newborn of an overall nutritional status of the infant and its well-being. The size at birth is an important indicator of health in fetal and neonatal as individual or population; it is the product of duration of gestation and rate of fetus growth. During fetal life, serial measurement is able only with ultrasound and have not proved to be sufficiently valid or precise.


All of the recent articles published early-gestation shows that there is a  reference curve that could be used to developing for single or population fetus growth up to 24-26wk. Because the fetus-growth in different sex and race do not appear diverse until the third trimester. (de Onis and Habich JP1993)


Starting at about the third-trimester female fetuses are, on averages smaller than male fetuses, and other many factor start to influence the growth of the fetus such as: race, age, nutrition, environment, maternal health and other many factor .

Growth is define as an increase in size over time, and to measure it is required two or more serial measurement; body size is obviously proportional to age, not only in the fetus but throughout childhood until the time of skeletal fusion.

Some problem can arise if the infant will born at different gestation age it will make inference about normal growth. This is one of the reason why anthropometry have to be adapted to a single individual and cannot follow the standard curves that has been made from whole populations. 


Using anthropometry in individual new-born, is often use weight for gestational age at birth. it is able to categorize an individual infants as having experienced as normal, or subnormal growth in utero; the classification often use is: small for gestational age (SGA) weight below 10th percentile, appropriate for gestational age (AGA)weight between 10th and 90th percentiles, large for gestational age (LGA) weight above 90th percentile.

The normal birth weight range is considered to be between 2500 to 4200 grams.  Low birth weight have been defined by WHO as weight at birth of < 2500 grams, is a major cause of infant mortality and has been linked with l