The nutritional double burden, encompassing both undernutrition (stunting, underweight and wasting) and overnutrition (overweight and obesity), has become an important public health challenge in many developing countries. Globally, an estimated 99 million under-five year olds were underweight in 2012, with the low- and -middle income countries of Asia accounting for more than 70 percent of these undernourished children (WHO, 2012a). Although many developing countries have achieved significant reductions in the prevalence of undernutrition during the past two decades, the pace of decline was slow and insufficient to meet the Millennium Development Goals (UN, 2012).
Another emerging issue of nutritional burden in many developing countries is overnutrition. This recent issue may not only mean that the proportion of the overweight people is increasingly growing in these countries, but also that its socioeconomic impacts are likely to be felt more severely than developed countries (Schmidhuber et al., 2005). This could be because many developing countries lack an adequate health care system and health personnel that could help prevent and deal with the problems of overnutrition. It may also be due to the undernutrition issues that remain unsolved in these countries, since they may still combat nutritional deficiency-related problems and infectious diseases with the limited health budget and health capacity.
Previous studies have shown that a rapid transition in dietary patterns in many developing countries has resulted in the coexistence of underweight and overweight people within the same country (Clydette et al., 2007). The nutrition transition...
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...ociation for the Study of Obesity. 10(4), pp. 456-474
World Bank, 2005. India’s Undernourished Children: A call for reform and Action. Available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/SOUTHASIAEXT/Resources/223546-1147272668285/IndiaUndernourishedChildrenFinal.pdf [Accessed 5 January 2014]
World Health Organization, 2012a. Regional Nutrition Strategy: Addressing malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies (2011-2015). Available at: http://apps.searo.who.int/PDS_DOCS/B4819.pdf [Accessed 27 December 2013]
World Health Organization, 2012b. WHO Country Cooperation Strategy India 2012-2017. Available at: http://www.who.int/countryfocus/cooperation_strategy/ccs_ind_en.pdf [Accessed 3 January 2014]
World Health Organization, 2013. World health statistics 2013. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/81965/1/9789241564588_eng.pdf [Accessed 5 January 2014]
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