Nutrition in Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Authors: Zohra Lassi, Anoosh Moin, Zulfiqar Bhutta

Malnutrition in adolescence has remained a neglected area of research and programming globally, with the evidence for effective interventions to address nutritional problems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) proving particularly weak. Proven effective responses for stunting, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies do not yet exist. From high-income countries (HICs), some evidence exists on interventions for eating disorders and obesity, although much further work remains necessary in these settings, too. Yet an emerging double nutritional threat to child and adolescent health in LMICs does exist. To reduce deficiency-related malnutrition while preventing overweight and obesity, integrated adolescent health programs that prevent infection, improve diet quality, and encourage physical activity remain necessary. Although the double burden of nutrient deficiency, coupled with overweight and obesity, has increased in LMICs, policies in most countries focus almost exclusively on undernutrition in multiple forms; only a few countries have implemented national policies to prevent obesity.
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