Changing nutritional patterns in the wake of economic development

18 Jan 2021

New research from Dr Jonas Fooken and his Master's student Link Vo shows that patterns of malnutrition are changing following economic development in Asian economies.

While previously described by a high prevalence of undernutrition in households, a double burden of concurrent overnutrition and undernutrition is becoming more common in this region as increasing numbers of households include stunted children, a reliable indicator of absolute nutritional deprivation in children, and overweight mothers.

Fooken and Vo’s analysis indicates that economic growth plays a comparatively minor role in directly causing this pattern. Instead, economic development appears to contribute to malnutrition indirectly by changing eating habits towards the consumption of high-energy but low-micronutrient foods. Furthermore, household-level factors, particularly wealth and education, both of which are influenced by economic growth indirectly, contribute to the rise in the double burden in Asia.

Read the full article at the journal of Social Science and Medicine.