The world is entering an era of global food insecurity which is already leading to the “double burden” of both obesity and malnutrition occurring side by side within countries and even within the same families, a leading food expert has warned.
It will become increasingly common to see obese parents in some developing countries raising underweight and stunted children because high-calorie food is cheaper and more readily available than the nutritious food needed for healthy growth, said Alan Dangour of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“We are certainly looking at a period of increased instability in the supply of food, and also the diversity and types of food that are available are going to change,” said Dr Dangour, who is to lead a major study into global food insecurity and its impact on health.
“A result of this is called the ‘double burden’ of malnutrition,” he added. “Under-nutrition causes starvation and stunting in children, whereas obesity and over-weight in adults is another form of malnutrition, caused by eating the wrong type of food.