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The Lancet Series on the double burden of malnutrition

The Lancet and the World Health Organisation have produced a series on the double burden of malnutrition and how it affects low- and middle-income countries. The double burden of malnutrition refers to the simultaneous presence of overnutrition (e.g. overweight and obesity) and undernutrition (e.g. stunting and wasting) in a country, city, community or person. 

The series explores policy options that are able to address more than one type of malnutrition at once, and examines historical, biological and economic aspects of the double burden of malnutrition.

The series includes a commentary piece, which argues that there is no longer a clear divide between high-income countries with an overnutrition problem and low-income countries with an undernutrition problem, and that food system stakeholders (including health advocates, faith leaders, investors and local authorities) should work together instead of in separate policy “silos”.



Editorial: A future direction for tackling malnutrition, The Lancet, 395(10217).

Comment: Branca, F., Demaio, A., Udomkesmalee, E., Baker, P., Aguayo, V.M., Barquera, S., Dain, K., Keir, L., Lartey, A., Mugambi, G. and Oenema, S., 2019. A new nutrition manifesto for a new nutrition reality. The Lancet, 395(10217).

Profile: Lane, R., 2019. Corinna Hawkes: champion of effective food policy. The Lancet, The Lancet, 395(10217).


Popkin, B.M., Corvalan, C. and Grummer-Strawn, L.M., 2019. Dynamics of the double burden of malnutrition and the changing nutrition reality. The Lancet, 395(10217).

Wells, J.C., Sawaya, A.L., Wibaek, R., Mwangome, M., Poullas, M.S., Yajnik, C.S. and Demaio, A., 2019. The double burden of malnutrition: aetiological pathways and consequences for health. The Lancet, 395(10217).

Hawkes, C., Ruel, M.T., Salm, L., Sinclair, B. and Branca, F., 2019. Double-duty actions: seizing programme and policy opportunities to address malnutrition in all its forms. The Lancet, Online first.

Nugent, R., Levin, C., Hale, J. and Hutchinson, B., 2019. Economic effects of the double burden of malnutrition. The Lancet, Online first.

View the full series here. See also the Foodsource building block What is malnutrition?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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