Demographic Trends in Mid-Arm Circumference in Children and Adults over a 35-Year Period

  • R. J. Prineas
  • Y. Ostchega
  • D. S. Reed-Gillette


Upper mid-arm circumference, measured in a standard way, has been used as an indicator of nutrition, for tracking malnutrition and obesity in populations and as a guide to proper sized cuff selection in the indirect measure of blood pressure. There are few published national data from which to observe changes in arm circumference over time that are gender-specific, in a wide range of ages from infancy through old age. The present chapter presents such detailed tables for the United States for the first time. The span of time covered is 35 years, from 1971 to 2006. Arm circumference adjusted for age and gender increased steadily over the earlier parts of this period but shows some signs of leveling off in the most recent periods. The increase over time has been greater among children and young adults than among older age groups. The increase in mid-arm circumference is mirrored both by an increase in stature and an increase in obesity. Detailed age-sex-specific tables are presented


Blood Pressure Level Survey Period Mexican American Cuff Size Mobile Examination Center 



Body mass index


Mexican American


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Non-Hispanic black


Non-Hispanic white



We are grateful to the US Centers for Disease Control for access to public use documents regarding the NHANES surveys.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Prineas
    • 1
  • Y. Ostchega
  • D. S. Reed-Gillette
  1. 1.School of Medicine, Division of Public Health SciencesWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

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