5.5 Clinical methods of assessing nutritional status

As a frontline health worker providing health services at community level, you will almost certainly encounter many people with nutritional deficiency problems. In addition to the anthropometric assessments, you can also assess clinical signs and symptoms that might indicate potential specific nutrient deficiency.

Clinical methods of assessing nutritional status involve checking signs of deficiency at specific places on the body or asking the patient whether they have any symptoms that might suggest nutrient deficiency from the patient. Clinical signs of nutrient deficiency include: pallor (on the palm of the hand or the conjunctiva of the eye), Bitot’s spots on the eyes, pitting oedema, goitre and severe visible wasting (these signs are explained below).

5.4.3  Measuring the MUAC of children

5.5.1  Checking for bilateral pitting oedema in a child