Journal article

Nutrition Justice: uncovering invisible pathways to malnutrition

Food accessibility Indigenous children Indigenous health Nutrition Laos Australia

This paper proposes the use of the analytic frame of “nutrition justice” to reconcile the separate imperatives of global health for nutritional sufficiency for all, to eradicate childhood malnutrition, and the need for strategies to check the emerging pandemic of the double burden of malnutrition in the global south. 

Key Findings:

  • Malnutrition requires a response that extends beyond the factors that comprise the usual frame of reference of public health (e.g., dietary patterns, socio-economic factors, hygiene, and sanitation), and include, for example, an approach that identifies the cultural barriers to the provision of sufficient food to babies from 6 months of age.
  • The politics of structural inequality need to be addressed in societies of increasing wealth disparity to the cultural factors that coerce adolescents into pregnancy, and the factors that deprives several generations of optimal nutrition.
  • The emergence of the double burden of malnutrition and obesity and diabetes highlights the cost of disruption to adaptation of childhood growth to transgenerational nutritional constraint.
  • The Aboriginal population in Australia carry a high burden of obesity from late childhood, and a high prevalence of early onset metabolic syndrome with onset of insulin-insensitive diabetes in adolescence. The high risk of cardiovascular disease in both Aboriginal and South Asian populations is in marked contrast to the rapid rate of decline in mainstream society with the death rate from cardiovascular disease in mainstream Australian population falling by 80% in the past four decades.
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