J Epidemiol Community Health 56:804-805 doi:10.1136/jech.56.11.804
  • Nutrition
  • Editorial

Nutritional transition: a public health challenge in developing countries

  1. S K Kapoor,
  2. K Anand
  1. Comprehensive Rural Health Services Project, Ballabgarh, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, District Faridabad–121004, Haryana, India
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor S K Kapoor;

    The double burden of undernutrition and overnutriton in developing countries is a public health challenge

    Developing countries are undergoing various types of transitions. The epidemiological transition makes them face a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Similarly, demographic and socioeconomic transitions are also occurring in these countries. Earlier developing countries had a high prevalence of undernutrition, but this era of transition has also brought a double burden of undernutrition and overnutrition in these countries. Shukla et al in their descriptive study of body mass index (BMI) in western India in this issue of the journal have demonstrated this burden.1

    BMI, also known as Quetelet’s index, relates height to weight and is measured by the formula—weight (kg)/height (m)2. It has been recommended to use this index as it is difficult to measure fat mass under field conditions. For different grades of overweight among adults, an expert committee of the World Health Oranisation has recommended three cut off points of 25, 30, and 40.

    While interpreting these cut off points, the following points should be kept in mind2:

    • The recommended cut offs are appropriate for identifying the extent of overweight in people, but do not imply targets for intervention

    • Weight gain in adult life may be associated with increased morbidity and mortality independently of the original degree of overweight.

    • These cut …

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