World TB Day: N-TB nutritional assessment app to be launched soon

The N-TB is the first of its kind app for healthcare providers. It enables the classification of the nutritional status of the patient by calculating the body mass index (BMI). If the BMI is very low, it red-flags it and provides an overview of management of severe under nutrition

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On World TB Day (24 March), the Center for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya University, Mangalore in association with McGill International TB Centre, Montreal will release N-TB app, an android mobile based application for the nutritional assessment and counselling of adult patients with tuberculosis (TB).

This app, endorsed by the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme and WHO India, was included in the new initiatives unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Delhi End TB Summit on March 13.

TB often results in significant weight loss, which can exacerbate underlying under nutrition. Studies in India have shown that 50% of adult men and women with TB weigh below 42 kg and 38 kg respectively. Studies in rural India have also shown life-threatening levels of low BMI.

Under nutrition in TB patients has been shown to be a consistent risk factor for death, and this is important in a country like India where current levels of TB mortality are high with 423,000 deaths due to TB.

The app provides information on the weight gain required during treatment to achieve a desirable weight, and the recommended daily caloric and protein intake. It has counselling tips on diet with an emphasis on the value of locally available foods in contrast to costly nutritional supplements, activity and lifestyle. The app is freely downloadable via Google Play.

Dr Anurag Bhargava, Professor of Medicine at Yenepoya University Mangalore and Adjunct Professor at Department of Medicine, McGill University, said, “ This app would help benefit any healthcare provider to assess the nutritional status of a TB patient. It can help doctors who do not have a BMI calculator at hand, if the BMI is severely low it would alert the healthcare provider. The app also provides counselling tips on diet and what can be eaten during therapy along with calorie and energy information from different food groups. Additional features are going to be made into this app it will be displayed on its updated version.”