A survey carried out in May 1979 of the nutritional status of 2152 children aged 1-5 living in Ubon Refugee Camp, Thailand, showed that 165 (7.5%) probably suffered from malnutrition, using arm circumference as an index. This index was validated by comparisons with weight for age and with morbidity in 'malnourished' and normal groups. Arm circumference appeared to be a valid index of nutritional status and a useful screening test with a false positive ratio of about 1 : 5. It was then applied to children attending feeding centres within the camp, and it was thus possible to show that the centres were not attended by as many malnourished children as expected. A feeding centre in a highly impoverished area of the camp was shown to be more likely to have a higher percentage of malnourished children attending.
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