International Trends in Malnutrition

To what extent have nutrition policies in developing and developed countries been effective in reducing malnutrition? During the 20 years between the World Food Conference in 1974 and the International Nutrition Conference in 1992, there have been considerable changes in the extent of malnutrition. The percentage of underweight children has declined in all areas of the world except sub-Saharan Africa and South America, but the numbers have declined only in China and have increased markedly in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Most data on nutritional status relate to preschool children because these are considered the most vulnerable, but other age groups are certainly not immune to malnutrition. Since 1992, international assessments of nutritional status have included women, but no information is available on trends. On the other hand, the prevalence of obesity and associated diseases has increased alarmingly in developed countries and also in several developing countries. Since the 1990s, international nutrition reports have moved from an almost exclusive focus on developing countries to include the nutrition concerns of developed countries.

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