Actions targeting the double burden of malnutrition: a scoping review
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
BACKGROUND: In many developing countries, nutritional and epidemiological transitions are contributing to continuous undernutrition and escalating overnutrition, resulting in coexisting forms of malnutrition often referred as the "double burden of malnutrition" (DBM). This complex phenomenon constitutes an unprecedented challenge to global public health and has been prioritized by international health organizations, prompting governments to swift action. Specifically, five years ago the World Health Organization proposed a roadmap to tackle the DBM though so-called "double-duty actions". The objective of this review was to synthesize the literature on interventions which address the DBM.
METHODS: We developed a scoping review to identify interventions addressing the DBM. We searched PUBMED for papers reporting interventions until December 2019. Articles examining interventions, government policies, or tools at the individual, household, or community level to address the double burden of malnutrition were included.
RESULTS: Seven articles met the inclusion criteria. Three were from sub-Saharan Africa, one was from Southeast Asia, and one was from Central America. Two were modelling studies, with one covering 24 low-income countries and the other focusing on Ghana.
CONCLUSION: Notwithstanding the pressing issue of the DBM, there is a paucity of studies examining double-duty actions despite the attention that it has garnered within the global nutrition community. Whilst nutrient deficiencies may be curbed by poverty reduction measures, for obesity prevention nutrition, education and promotion of physical activity, along with the encouragement of local food production, may be instrumental.