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Double Burden of Malnutrition and Nutrition Transition in Asia: A Case Study of 4 Selected Countries With Different Socioeconomic Development
Authors: Liwang Gao, Ashok Bhurtyal, Junxiang Wei, Parveen Akhtar, Liang Wang, and Youfa Wang
Source: Advances in Nutrition , Published online; DOI: 10.1093/advances/nmaa064
Topic(s): Nutrition
Country: Asia
   Multiple Asian Countries
Published: JUN 2020
Abstract: Disease burden and lifestyle patterns have changed rapidly worldwide, especially in some Asian countries over the past 2 decades. However, cross-country comparative research is limited. This study investigated the nutritional status of preschool children and childbearing women in China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan selected based on their socioeconomic status, population size, and urbanization. Nationally representative data were used from the China National Nutrition and Health Surveillance Report, India National Family Health Survey, Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, the WHO repository, and the World Bank. The prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity and some ratios were compared. These rates varied across these 4 countries and were associated with their economic development levels. China's economic status and prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity (11.5%) were highest; India's economic status was higher than that of Nepal and Pakistan, but had higher rates of stunting, wasting, and underweight (38.4%, 21.0%, and 35.7%, respectively) in preschool children. Pakistan had the highest prevalence of overweight/obesity among childbearing women (52.4% in all, 63.0% in urban areas). Nepal had the lowest economic status and overweight/obesity rate in preschool children (1.2%). In general, the prevalence of overweight/obesity was higher in urban than in rural areas, except among childbearing women in China. Nutritional status and health burden are heavily influenced by economic development. The double burden of malnutrition poses prioritization challenges for policymakers and public health efforts. Prevention of obesity is urgently needed, at least in higher-income countries in Asia. Keywords: Asia; malnutrition; obesity; overweight; socioeconomic status.