Nutrient depletion is a common complication of inflammatory bowel disease, and some of the consequences can be severe. Although it is often easy to recognise the most severely undernourished subjects, those with lesser degrees of malnutrition may prove more difficult to detect. Measurements of many nutritional variables will be abnormal in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, especially in those with Crohn's disease, but are not always relevant to the clinical management of patients. Anthropometric means of assessment, in particular, measurement of mid arm circumference, can act as a simple, reproducible method of detecting those most at risk of appreciable undernutrition.
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