At least 2.3 billion children and adults are overweight, while more than 150 million children are stunted globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Concise News understands that the WHO disclosed this in a statement released on Monday, referencing a four-paper report published on Double Burden of Malnutrition in The Lancet Medical Journal.
According to the report, twin presence of obesity and undernutrition reflect shifts in food systems worldwide, as more than one in three low- and middle-income countries face both extremes of malnutrition.
It added that the new report explored trends behind this intersection – known as the double burden of malnutrition – as well as societal and food system changes that may be causing it.
The report also explored the biological explanation and effects, as well as policy measures that might help to address malnutrition in all its forms.
“A total of 45 out of 123 countries in the 1990s, and 48 of 126 countries in the 2010s, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific had overlapping forms of malnutrition,” the report read.
“Undernutrition and obesity can lead to effects across generations as both maternal undernutrition and obesity are associated with poor health in offspring.
“However, because of the speed of change in food systems, more people are being exposed to both forms of malnutrition at different points in their lifetime, which further increases harmful health effects.’’
Lead Author of the report, Dr Francesco Branca, said: “we are facing a new nutrition reality.
“We can no longer characterise countries as low-income and undernourished, or high-income and only concerned with obesity.
“All forms of malnutrition have common denominator – food systems that fail to provide all people with healthy, safe, affordable and sustainable diets.
“Changing this will require action across food systems – from production and processing, through trade and distribution, pricing, marketing and labelling, to consumption and waste.
“All relevant policies and investments must be radically re-examined.”