Malnutrition and poverty

Annu Rev Nutr. 2002;22:241-53. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.22.120701.141104. Epub 2002 Jan 4.


This paper is an attempt to discuss the problem of malnutrition within the framework of the global need for development and the challenges posed by the trends of neoliberalism and globalization. We argue that there is a two-way link between poverty and health in which nutrition plays an important role both as an active and as a mediating factor. Key concepts are exposed and expanded: (a) Development per se does not ensure better health; (b) unequal distribution of income has an independent effect on health indicators after adjusting for total income; (c) improving health can make an important contribution to reducing poverty; (d ) improving nutrition throughout the whole life course is an indispensable strategy for better health; (e) obesity has to be included amongst the most critical health problems, has different traits, and presents with different challenges in the developing world and in the industrialized countries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Nutrition Disorders / economics
  • Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity / economics
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Poverty*