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Nutritional challenges for children in societies in transition

Cai, Wei

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: May 2014 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 278–284
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000042
PAEDIATRICS: Edited by Berthold V. Koletzko and Raanan Shamir

Purpose of review This review is to explore the childhood nutrition and health in relation to socioeconomic changes in transitional countries, and to describe the good experiences and policies in these countries to combat childhood nutritional challenges.

Recent findings Double burden of malnutrition – the coexistence of under-nutrition and over-nutrition in the same population – is a prominent public health concern in transitional countries. With rapid industrialization, these countries are facing a growing epidemic of overweight/obesity in children and adolescents. The increasing prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity is a likely consequence of behavioral changes, and accompanied with an increasing incidence of noncommunicable chronic diseases. Although remarkable improvement of childhood nutrition was achieved, the stunting growth and micronutrient deficiency remain to be child health issues in transitional countries.

Summary The social transition caused a broad range of nutrition-associated problems. Previous successful experiences indicated that if appropriate action is undertaken, the child nutritional problems accompanied with economic transition could be controlled to some extent. However, greater efforts are needed to improve the status of childhood nutrition in transitional countries.

aXin Hua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine

bShanghai Institute for Pediatric Research

cShanghai Key Laboratory of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Shanghai, China

Correspondence to Wei Cai, 1665 Kongjiang Road, Shanghai 200092, China. Tel: +86 21 65791316; fax: +86 21 65791316; e-mail:

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