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Need to address all forms of childhood malnutrition with a common agenda
  1. Camila Corvalan1,2,
  2. Alan D Dangour3,
  3. Ricardo Uauy3,4
  1. 1
    Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
  2. 2
    School of Public Health, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
  3. 3
    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  4. 4
    Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
  1. Ricardo Uauy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine London UK and Institute of Nutrition (INTA) University of Chile Santiago Chile, Keppel Street, London

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Over the past 20 years, low- and middle-income countries have experienced progressive urbanisation and a shift from predominantly plant-based low-energy-density diets and high levels of physical activity to increased consumption of energy-dense processed food (high in fat and sugars) and animal-food products, with increased levels of inactivity during work and leisure.1 The not-unexpected yet remarkable consequence of this process has been the unprecedented rise in the prevalence of obesity, which is now reaching epidemic proportions globally. Among countries undergoing such a transition, the epidemic first affected urban middle-aged women, later extending to adolescents and children of low socioeconomic income groups.24 Using International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) criteria, it is estimated that by 2010 almost 50% of school-aged children in the Americas, 40% of children in the Eastern Mediterranean region (including Pakistan), 33% of children in the Western Pacific region and 20% of children in South East Asia will be overweight.5

The obesity epidemic in the developing world will probably have a direct bearing on the prevalence of related conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.6 Indeed, the most recent WHO estimate of distribution of deaths from non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) indicates that 80% of all deaths from …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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