Observations from many countries indicate that multiple forms of malnutrition might coexist in a country, a household, and an individual. Health effects of the double burden of malnutrition (DBM) include those associated with both undernutrition, such as impaired childhood development and greater susceptibility to infectious diseases, and overweight, especially in terms of increased risk of added visceral fat and increased risk of non-communicable diseases. These health effects have not been translated into economic costs for individuals and economies in the form of lost wages and productivity, as well as higher medical expenses. 

DBM in low-income and middle-income countries was recognised by economists as important by 2001, but has not been extensively studied. The DBM is now receiving greater attention as it appears to be more permanent and widespread than earlier perceived, which implies greater economic effects.

Read the entire article at The Lancet. Carol Levin, Clinical Associate Professor of Global Health, is quoted.