OREANDA-NEWS. The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed the importance of a multipronged approach to address the challenges brought on by occurrence of both under nutrition, and overweight and obesity, often within the same communities, and even in the same households in several south-east Asian countries.

“This double burden [of undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity] is depriving people from reaching their potential, and is fuelling rising rates of non-communicable diseases,” WHO Regional Director for the South-East Asia Region, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said in a news release today.

According to the UN health agency, an estimated 60 million children under the age of 5 are stunted, a condition characterized by reduced growth rate and development, while 8.8 million are overweight. Furthermore, thinness affects 24 to 47 per cent of adolescent girls while between 2 and 24 per cent are overweight and among adult women, prevalence of overweight or obesity ranges between 18-30 per cent, the agency added.

Highlighting that ending all forms of malnutrition is an important component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Dr. Khetrapal Singh said that WHO, in consultation with its regional member countries, developed a strategic action plan to reduce the double burden of malnutrition.