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Overall appearance, behavior, body-fat distribution, and organ function can alert a family physician, internist, or nutrition specialist to the presence of malnutrition. Patients may be asked to record what they eat during a specific period. X rays can determine bone density and reveal gastrointestinal disturbances, and heart and lung damage.

Blood and urine tests are used to measure levels of vitamins, minerals, and waste products. Nutritional status can also be determined by:

  • Comparing a patient's weight to standardized charts.
  • Calculating body mass index (BMI) according to a formula that divides height into weight.
  • Measuring skin-fold thickness or the circumference of the upper arm.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Macrofauna to MathematicsMalnutrition - Overnutrition, Causes And Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis, Prevention