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Anthropometric indices

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Anthropometric measurements are combined with each other or with other data to calculate anthropometric indices. The most common indices used in emergencies include those listed in the table below:

Index Nutritional problem measured
Weight-for-height Acute malnutrition (wasting)
Height-for-age Chronic malnutrition (stunting)
Weight-for-age Any protein-energy malnutrition (underweight)

If you want to measure the prevalence of acute protein-energy malnutrition, you should use weight-for-height. However, in practice, all three indices are usually available. Most emergency nutrition surveys measure sex, height, weight, and age. From these measurements, all three anthropometric indices can be easily calculated by a computer.