5.1  Nutritional assessment

As a Health Extension Practitioner you will frequently be dealing with your community’s nutritional problems. Using different nutritional assessment (see Box 5.1) methods discussed in this section you will learn how to assess the nutritional status of children, mothers and other adults living in your community.

Box 5.1  Definition of nutritional assessment

Nutritional assessment is the interpretation of anthropometric, biochemical (laboratory), clinical and dietary data to determine whether a person or groups of people are well nourished or malnourished (over-nourished or under-nourished).

Nutritional assessment can be done using the ABCD methods. These refer to the following:

  • A.Anthropometry
  • B.Biochemical/biophysical methods
  • C.Clinical methods
  • D.Dietary methods.

The word anthropometry comes from two words: Anthropo means ‘human’ and metry means ‘measurement’. In your community you will be able to use anthropometric measurements to assess either growth or change in the body composition of the people you are responsible for. The different measurements taken to assess growth and body composition are presented below.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 5

5.2  Anthropometric measurements used to assess growth