Chapter 7 Severe acute malnutrition

Severe acute malnutrition is defined in these guidelines as the presence of oedema of both feet or severe wasting (weight-for-height/length <-3SD or mid- upper arm circumference < 115 mm). No distinction is made between the clinical conditions of kwashiorkor or severe wasting because their treatment is similar.

Children who are <-3SD weight-for-age may be stunted (short stature) but not severely wasted. Stunted children who are not severely wasted do not require hospital admission unless they have a serious illness.