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Poverty, obesity, and malnutrition: an international perspective recognizing the paradox.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Impact Factor: 3.92). 12/2007; 107(11):1966-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.08.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the year 2000, multiple global health agencies and stakeholders convened and established eight tenets that, if followed, would make our world a vastly better place. These tenets are called the Millennium Development Goals. Most of these goals are either directly or indirectly related to nutrition. The United Nations has led an evaluation team to monitor and assess the progress toward achieving these goals until 2015. We are midway between when the goals were set and the year 2015. The first goal is to "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger." Our greatest responsibility as nutrition professionals is to understand the ramifications of poverty, chronic hunger, and food insecurity. Food insecurity is complex, and the paradox is that not only can it lead to undernutrition and recurring hunger, but also to overnutrition, which can lead to overweight and obesity. It is estimated that by the year 2015 noncommunicable diseases associated with overnutrition will surpass undernutrition as the leading causes of death in low-income communities. Therefore, we need to take heed of the double burden of malnutrition caused by poverty, hunger, and food insecurity. Informing current practitioners, educators, and policymakers and passing this information on to future generations of nutrition students is of paramount importance.

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Available from: Martha Kaufer-Horwitz, Apr 29, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, economic and socially acceptable access to safe, sufficient, and adequately nutritious food in order to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. For high income countries and those experiencing the nutrition transition, food security is not only about the quantity of available food but also the nutritional quality as related to over- and under-nutrition. Vietnam is currently undergoing this nutrition transition, and as a result the relationship between food insecurity, socio-demographic factors and weight status is complex. The primary objective of this study was to therefore measure the prevalence of household food insecurity in a disadvantaged urban district in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in Vietnam using a more comprehensive tool. This study also aims to examine the relationships between food insecurity and socio-demographic factors, weight status, and food intakes. A cross-sectional study was conducted using multi-stage sampling. Adults who were mainly responsible for cooking were interviewed in 250 households. Data was collected on socioeconomic and demographic factors using previously validated tools. Food security was assessed using the Latin American and Caribbean Household Food Security Scale (ELCSA) tool and households were categorized as food secure or mildly, moderately or severely food insecure. Questions regarding food intake were based on routinely used and validated questions in HCMC, weight status was self-reported. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was 0.87, showing the ELCSA had a good internal reliability. Approximately 34.4% of households were food insecure. Food insecurity was inversely related to total household income (OR = 0.09, 95% CI = 0.04 - 0.22) and fruit intakes (OR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.31 - 4.22). There was no association between weight and food security status. Despite rapid industrialization and modernization, food insecurity remains an important public health issue in large urban areas of HCMC, suggesting that strategies to address food insecurity should be implemented in urban settings, and not just rural locations. Fruit consumption among food insecure households may be compromised because of financial difficulties, which may lead to poorer health outcomes particularly related to non-communicable disease prevention and management.
    BMC Public Health 12/2015; 15(1):1566. DOI:10.1186/s12889-015-1566-z · 2.32 Impact Factor
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