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Recommendations Summary

UWL: Assess Anthropometric Measurements 2009

Click here to see the explanation of recommendation ratings (Strong, Fair, Weak, Consensus, Insufficient Evidence) and labels (Imperative or Conditional). To see more detail on the evidence from which the following recommendations were drawn, use the hyperlinks in the Supporting Evidence Section below.

  • Recommendation(s)

    UWL: Assess Anthropometric Measurements

    The Registered Dietitian (RD) should ensure that older adults are weighed upon initial visit,  admission or readmission to obtain a baseline weight, and then weekly thereafter, using standard procedures.  Studies support an association between unintended weight loss and increased mortality.

    Rating: Strong

    • Risks/Harms of Implementing This Recommendation

      • Standard weighing procedures must be followed or weights may be inaccurate

    • Conditions of Application


    • Potential Costs Associated with Application

      • Appropriate equipment (bed scales, chair scales, etc.) may be costly
      • Cost of staff time should be considered

    • Recommendation Narrative

      • Five studies support an association between underweight and/or unintended weight loss and increased mortality but the definition is inconsistent. 
      • One study reported that mortality was 50% for subjects with a BMI < 20 kg/m2 (Saletti et al, 2005), but additional research suggests that the current BMI thresholds may not apply to the elderly (Sanchez-Garcia et al, 2007). 
      • Two studies report that weight loss was associated with a 2 to 10-fold increased risk for death (Sullivan et al, 2002; Sullivan et al, 2004), and one study reported that those who were severely underweight were four times more likely to have unintentional weight loss of 10 pounds in 6 months (Martin et al, 2007).

    • Recommendation Strength Rationale

      • Conclusion Statement in support of this recommendation received Grade II

    • Minority Opinions

      Consensus reached.