Identifying children at risk of malnutrition
In this paper, Alan Jackson provides an editorial for the three papers published by by Grellety and Golden (2018), which explore comparisons between the use of mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) and the use of weight in relation to height (WH) to screen for and identify children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at risk of death. The editorial provides a brief history of how the management of SAM have progressed and the services and care provided to children with SAM over the past decades have become better, in response to better characterisation of the condition and understanding of its pathophysiology, by eminent scientists like Williams, Waterlow and Morley.
Jackson explains that the three papers from Grellety and Golden offer their most recent perspective on the issue being discussed, which is that using MUAC alone for SAM identification does not identify some others who will be identified if the weight-or-height indicator is used.
He concludes that the debate should be structured around certain considerations (detailed in the editorial) and the information that has been generated during the treatment of severe childhood malnutrition over the decades. “This will provide an important and critical bridge between the nutritional science of the twentieth century and that needed for the twenty first century”.
Full access to the editorial can be obtained here