Moderate acute malnutrition

Moderate acute malnutrition

Identify and intervene

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You need to identify children with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and provide counselling, nutrition education and support to the family.

A child has MAM if they have wasting (loss of muscle and fat) but not severe wasting.

In children between 6 months and 5 years, moderate wasting is:

  • a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) between 11.5 and 12.5 cm, or
  • a weight-for-length/height between the -2 and -3 lines on the weight-for-height growth chart.

Classify any children with nutritional oedema (swelling of both legs) as having severe (not moderate) acute malnutrition, regardless of the MUAC and the weight-for-height score.

Find out why the child is malnourished.

  • An inadequate diet (due to not enough food at home and/or poor feeding practices) is a common cause of malnutrition.
  • Illnesses such as TB, HIV or chronic diarrhoea can also cause or worsen malnutrition.

Manage MAM by improving nutrition and treating any illness.

You also need to monitor the malnourished child’s weight closely. This can usually be managed from the clinic, but home visits might be necessary.

Also provide food packages and supplements in line with local policies.

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