Study: Examining wealth and residential inequalities in India’s double burden of malnutrition
- Impact Area
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The double burden of malnutrition—the coexistence of underweight and micronutrient deficiencies with overweight and obesity—has become a major global public health concern. It is particularly acute in rapidly expanding urban areas, where the ready availability of cheap, processed foods and sugary drinks along with increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to overnutrition, particularly among poorer populations. At the same time, socioeconomic disparities persist within and across urban and rural areas, affecting all forms of malnutrition. Understanding these inequalities related to wealth status and residence is vital to identifying solutions for the double burden.
Our new study focuses on these issues in India. We investigated the malnutrition trends and disparities between socioeconomic groups and urban-rural residence in India from 2006-2016, providing insights needed to effectively address the impacts of inequality on nutrition. Among the findings: While overnutrition among Indian adults doubled in the studied period, with the fastest rate of increase in rural areas, stunting among children remains high and disproportionately affects the poor.
Photo credit: Adam Cohn