- War, lack of democracy, food insecurity, urbanization, and economic growth contribute to malnutrition among adolescence in developing countries.
- The health consequences include stunting, obesity, and thinness.
- The double burden of malnutrition refers to the coexistence of under-nutrition along with overweight and obesity.
The causes of malnutrition among adolescents in developing countries have been identified by a research team at the University of Warwick who blames macro-level factors for the same.
The double burden of malnutrition refers to the coexistence of under-nutrition along with overweight and obesity, or diet-related non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
His team found that the burden of double malnutrition is shockingly common and the researchers are now calling on governments and NGOs to identify context-specific issues and design and implement policies and interventions to reduce adolescent malnutrition accordingly.
Adolescence is a period for growth and development, with higher nutritional demands placing adolescents at greater risk of malnutrition.
They used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/World Health Organization (WHO) Global School-Based Student Health Survey and WHO Health Behavior in School-Aged Children surveys done in 57 LMICs between 2003-2013, comprising 129,276 adolescents aged 12-15 years. They examined the burden of stunting, thinness, overweight or obesity, and concurrent stunting and overweight or obesity. They then linked nutritional data to international databases including the World Bank, Center for Systemic Peace, Uppsala Conflict Data Program, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
They found that across the 57 LMICs, 10.2% of the adolescents were stunted and 5.5 percent were thin. The prevalence of overweight or obesity was much higher at more than a fifth of the adolescents (21.4%). The prevalence of concurrent stunting and overweight or obesity was 2.0 percent. Between 38.4 percent 58.7 percent of the variance in adolescent malnutrition was explained by macro-level contextual factors.
Dr Caleyachetty said: "The majority of adolescents live in LMICs but the global health community has largely neglected the health needs of this population. At the population level, macro-level contextual factors such as war, lack of democracy, food insecurity, urbanisation and economic growth partly explain the variation in the double burden of malnutrition among adolescents across LMICs.
"The global health community will have to adapt their traditional response to the double burden of malnutrition in order to provide optimal interventions for adolescents."
- War, Lack of Democracy and Urbanisation Contribute to Double Burden of Malnutrition in Adolescents in Developing Countries - ( https://www.bioportfolio.com/news/article/3670904/War-lack-of-democracy-and-urbanisation-contribute-to-double-burden-of-malnutrition.html)
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Chrisy Ngilneii. 2021. Cause of Malnutrition Among Teens in Developing Countries. Medindia, viewed May 21, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/cause-of-malnutrition-among-teens-in-developing-countries-180568-1.htm.