Comparison of armspan, arm length and tibia length as predictors of actual height of disabled and nondisabled children in Dharavi, Mumbai, India

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;57(10):1230-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601705.


Objectives: To investigate appropriate measurements to predict height in children with physical impairments to facilitate the accurate assessment of nutritional status in field studies.

Design: Case-control cross-sectional study.

Setting: Dharavi, a large slum in Mumbai, India.

Subjects: In total, 141 children with mixed disabilities and 162 nondisabled control children, aged 2-6 y.

Methods: Height/length, armspan, arm length and tibia length were measured to the nearest 0.1 cm using standard procedures. The relations between armspan, arm length and tibia length with height in controls were investigated using linear regression.

Results: Armspan (R(2)=0.93, P<0.001, n=158), arm length (R(2)=0.81, P<0.001, n=162) and tibia length (R(2)=0.72, P<0.001, n=161) were found to be strong predictors of height based on data from nondisabled control children. These measurements could be used to determine a more accurate height for children with physical impairments where the nature of the impairment may interfere with height measurements.

Conclusions: Armspan, arm length and tibia length can be used to determine accurate height for children with physical impairments, for example, children with a nonambulatory status or those with kyphosis or scoliosis of the spine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry / methods*
  • Arm / anatomy & histology*
  • Body Height
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology*