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Double burden actions in middle income countries

April 22th, 2020

Choices International concluded the series of research on the double burden of malnutrition with a comparative analysis of international recommendations on the double burden of malnutrition in Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. This analysis was conducted by our intern Tele Boit currently pursuing a Master of Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University.

The aim of the study was to provide an overview of the prevention of Double Burden of Malnutrition (DBM) in the four countries. The results from this comparative analysis showed a similarity in the national nutrition policies, with all the countries studied predominantly basing their nutrition policies on specific strategies to address nutrient shortages. Fundamental approaches recommended by International Organizations towards alleviating DBM included nutrition education, maternal and child nutrition, food labelling, reformulation, and a multi-sectoral approach. These approaches were implemented at varying extents depending on the nutrition prioritization in each country. It was remarkable that many disparities in the implementation of national nutrition policies emerged across different countries. Nevertheless, the four countries show a similar pattern in the implementation of international recommendations. These recommendations are adopted only partially in national nutrition policies. Implementation of the national nutrition policies is only partial as well. This is caused by inadequate resources, lack of political priority, consumer illiteracy on adequate nutrition practices and data incoherence.

Tele concluded that to tackle DBM in its entirety, a comprehensive strategy such as an integrated food system with multisectoral approach is fundamental. There is no “one size fits all” policy that can universally combat DBM in lower to middle-income countries. Therefore, nutrition policies should be consumer-oriented and locally contextualized to adequately influence long term positive consumer choice.  Download the report here.

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