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Validity and utility of anthropometric measurements: a survey of cancer outpatients

, : Validity and utility of anthropometric measurements: a survey of cancer outpatients. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 85(4): 439-444

The use of anthropometric data to assess nutritional status in patient populations is controversial; this study explores relationships among such measures in cancer outpatients in order to evaluate their validity and usefulness. Eighty-eight subjects agreed to participate fully. They were interviewed, and arm measurements were taken. Correlations between percentage of ideal weight, weight change, arm muscle area, and arm fat area tended to be moderately positive in both men (N = 31) and women (N = 57). Percentage of ideal weight had the highest average correlation with other variables. In women who were not above usual weight and in men, factor analysis yielded two-factor solutions, with one factor dominated by arm muscle area and the other factor dominated by arm fat area. This indicates that muscle and fat area estimates supplement weight data and provide distinct information. Even though anthropometric measures lack the precision attained by biochemical analysis of blood and urine samples, they are useful for a variety of clinical and research purposes, and they are inexpensive, noninvasive, and easily obtained. Nutrition leaders should further study the reliability and validity of anthropometric approaches, develop guidelines for their most appropriate use, and communicate the results of their efforts in interdisciplinary forums.


PMID: 3980890

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