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Monitoring Changes In Weight Using Mid Upper Arm Circumference

If you are unable to weigh someone, measuring mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is a way to determine if they are losing or gaining bodyweight.

  • Mid upper arm circumference does not correspond to a specific bodyweight
  • Changes in mid-upper arm circumference may indicate changes in body weight. E.g: If mid-upper arm circumference changes by 5% then it is likely that body weight has changed by approximately by 5%
  • Mid upper arm circumference provides an indication of whether a BMI is likely to be below 20 kg/m2, i.e whether they are likely to be underweight

The mid-upper arm circumference video below explains how to measure an individual’s mid-upper arm circumference.

To practice determining an individual’s mid-upper arm circumference, complete the mid-upper arm circumference activity sheet.


Focus on Undernutrition developed the award-winning ‘MUST’ alternative measurement tape, which is endorsed by BAPEN.

Each tape contains a tape measure to determine the individual’s mid-upper arm circumference.

The ‘MUST’ tapes are available in books of 20 perforated tapes from our shop.

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