Changes in Patterns of the Double Burden of Undernutrition and Overnutrition in Nepal Over Time

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This systematic review examined the shifts in undernutrition and overnutrition in Nepal during the past two decades. We searched PubMed for studies and reports published between January 1, 2000, and June 30, 2018. Publications with a sample size greater than or equal to 500 that reported prevalence of nutritional status were included. Six large national reports and 36 studies met study inclusion criteria and were included. Overall, available nationally representative data remained limited. The Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2001 to 2016 showed that underweight prevalence decreased from 26.7% to 17.2% and prevalence of overweight/obesity increased from 6.5% to 22.1% among women of reproductive age (15-49 years). In preschool children, prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight decreased from 57.2% to 35.8%, 11.2% to 9.7%, and 42.7% to 27.0%, respectively. Prevalence of overweight/obesity was low among children and was higher in higher socio-economic status (SES) groups. The overweight-obesity/underweight ratios indicate a shift from undernutrition to overnutrition problem; it was more evident in urban areas and higher SES groups. In conclusion, Nepal is experiencing a nutrition transition. More research is warranted to address this shift, and well-tailored public health efforts need to combat the double burden of overweight/obesity and undernutrition.