7.3.2  The mid upper arm circumference (MUAC)

For children aged six months or more, the most feasible way to determine wasting or acute malnutrition is by measuring their mid upper arm circumference (MUAC). A MUAC of less than 11.0 cm indicates severe acute malnutrition.

Steps of MUAC measurement

  1. Ask the mother to remove any clothing that covers the child’s arm. If possible the child should stand erect and sideways to the measurer.
  2. Estimate the mid-point of the left arm.
  3. Straighten the child’s arm and wrap the tape around at the mid-point. Make sure that the numbers are right side up. Make sure the tape is flat around the skin.
  4. Inspect the tension of the tape on the child’s arm. Make sure the tape has the proper tension and is not too tight or too loose. Repeat any step as necessary.
  5. When the tape is in the correct position and correct tension on the arm, read and call out the measurement to the nearest 0.1 cm.
  6. Immediately record the measurement.

Figure 7.2 below illustrates how to measure MUAC.

How to measure MUAC.
Figure 7.2  Measuring MUAC.

7.3.1  Visible severe wasting in infants less than six months of age

7.3.3  Look and feel for oedema of both feet