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Factors in interpreting data on acute protein-energy malnutrition

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Once nutrition data are collected, they need to be interpreted in order to take appropriate action. This can often be the most difficult part of an assessment. Nutrition data should be reviewed from the following perspectives:

  • Actual prevalence rates of acute protein-energy malnutrition in relation to thresholds and decision-making frameworks.
  • Trends over time and seasonal changes in the prevalence of malnutrition as well as major risk factors.
  • Underlying causes, such as food insecurity, caring practices, and public health status.
  • The relationship between malnutrition and mortality.

For a more complete discussion of interpreting nutrition data to make program decisions, see chapter 5 in The Meaning and Measurement of Acute Malnutrition in Emergencies: A Primer for Decision-Makers. Humanitarian Practice Network 2006. (Click here to open document.)