Addressing the double burden of malnutrition with a common agenda

Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2014;78:39-52. doi: 10.1159/000354935. Epub 2014 Jan 27.


Addressing malnutrition in all its forms represents an integrated agenda addressing the root causes of malnutrition at all stages of the life course. The issue is not about choosing between addressing undernutrition in the poor versus overnutrition in the affluent. We must recognize that the interventions required to address stunting are different from those needed to reduce underweight and wasting. In most developing regions, there is a coexistence between underweight and stunting in infants and children, while in the adult population it may be overweight and stunting. Malnutrition in all its forms refers to both underweight and overweight. Underweight is defined by a low weight-for-age, a child is underweight because of wasting (low weight-for-height) or stunting (low length-for-age). Stunting refers to low height-for-age independent of their weight-for-age, some stunted children may have excess weight for their stature length. Overweight is excess weight-for-length/-height or high-BMI-for-age. The prevention of nutrition-related chronic diseases is a life-long process that starts in fetal life and continues throughout infancy and later stages of life. It requires promoting healthy diets and active living at each stage. The agenda requires that we tackle malnutrition in all its forms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Growth Disorders / diet therapy
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Growth Disorders / prevention & control
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malnutrition* / complications
  • Malnutrition* / diet therapy
  • Malnutrition* / prevention & control
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity* / diet therapy
  • Obesity* / etiology
  • Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Overweight / diet therapy
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Overweight / prevention & control
  • Thinness* / diet therapy
  • Thinness* / etiology
  • Thinness* / prevention & control
  • Wasting Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Wasting Syndrome / etiology
  • Wasting Syndrome / prevention & control