A new approach is needed to help low- and middle-income countries reduce obesity and undernutrition at the same time as the issues become increasingly connected, according to the first paper in a four-paper report published in The Lancet.
“We are facing a new nutrition reality where major food system changes have led the poorest countries to have high levels of overweight and obesity along with undernutrition,” said Barry M. Popkin, lead author of the first paper and W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Our research shows that overweight and obesity levels of at least 20% among adults are found in all low-income countries. Furthermore, the double burden of high levels of both undernutrition and overweight occurs primarily in the lowest-income countries — a reality that is driven by the modern food system. This system has a global reach and is preventing low- and even moderate-income countries and households from consuming safe, affordable and healthy diets in a sustainable way.”