nutritional status

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nutritional status The condition of the body in those respects influenced by the diet; the levels of nutrients in the body and the ability of those levels to maintain normal metabolic integrity.

For adults, general adequacy is assessed by measuring weight and height; the result is commonly expressed as the body mass index, the ratio of weight (kg) to height2 (m). Body fat may also be estimated, by measuring skinfold thickness, and muscle diameter is also measured.

For children, weight and height for age are compared with standard data for adequately nourished children. The increase in the circumference of the head and the development of bones may also be measured.

Status with respect to individual vitamins and minerals is normally determined by laboratory tests, either measuring the blood and urine concentrations of the nutrients and their metabolites, or by testing for specific metabolic responses. See also anthropometry; enzyme activation assays.