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Symposium 04. The Double Burden of Malnutrition


Organizer: Will Masters, Professor and Chair, Department of Food and Nutrition Policy, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University

Moderator: Donna Barry, Policy and Advocacy Director, Nursing Advisor, Partners in Health

Additional Discussants

1. Dr. Rachel Nugent, Economist and Researcher, Department of Global Health, University of Washington
View Powerpoint presentation here.

2. Dr. Chessa Lutter, Regional Advisor on Food and Nutrition, Pan American Health Organization

3. Dominic Schofield, Manager, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Program, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)


Summary:  Our food environment creates many kinds of malnutrition, with insufficiencies alongside with excesses.  At the simplest level, this “double burden” can be seen in the widespread prevalence of both underweight/stunting and obesity in the same population.  Globally, up to 1 billion people are undernourished, about 1.5 billion are overweight of whom 0.5 billion are obese (FAO 2010, WHO 2011).  Undernutrition and obesity often coexists within the same household and in a given person over their lifetime.  Many deficiencies are most severe during pregnancy and early childhood, while shortfalls in iron and other micronutrients are highest among women of reproductive age.  Excesses often accumulate over time causing a variety of metabolic diseases whose incidence varies widely with environmental conditions and food security levels.  This symposium will address the global challenge of two-sided malnutrition, identifying how new discoveries and market trends influence nutrition and appropriate policy responses.

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