Mid-upper arm circumference as a screening measure for identifying children with hypertension

Chun-ming Ma, Yang Li, Guo-qin Gao, Fu-Zai Yin, Rui Wang, Xiao-li Liu, Qiang Lu
Blood Pressure Monitoring 2015, 20 (4): 189-93

BACKGROUND: Overweight and obesity, defined by BMI and waist circumference cut-off points, have long been recognized as risk factors for hypertension. Another proposed indicator of obesity in children is mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC).

OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to determine whether MUAC could be used to identify hypertension in Han children aged 7-12 years.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: In 2011, anthropometric measurements were assessed in a cross-sectional population-based study of 1352 Han children aged 7-12 years. Hypertension was defined according to the 2004 National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group definition. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were carried out to assess the accuracy of MUAC as diagnostic tests for hypertension.

RESULTS: The accuracy levels of MUAC for identifying hypertension [as assessed by area under the curve (AUC)] were over 0.85 in boys (AUC: 0.894), but not in girls (AUC: 0.831), and the cut-off values were the 75th percentile for boys and girls. The sensitivities were 87.5% in boys and 70.0% in girls. The AUC of MUAC was not significantly different from the AUC of BMI and waist circumference for both boys and girls (P>0.05).

CONCLUSION: The present study shows that MUAC is a simple, inexpensive, and accurate measurement for identifying hypertension in Han children. MUAC is equivalent to BMI and waist circumference as a screening test for hypertension.

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