Double burden of undernutrition and obesity in Uruguay.Am J Clin Nutr 2014; 100(6):1659S-62SAJ
Uruguay is at an advanced stage of the epidemiologic transition; like other Latin American countries, it bears a nutritional double burden composed of undernutrition and overweight or obesity.
The aim was to estimate whether a double burden of nutritional problems exists in Uruguay and to identify if governmental programs and policies for nutrition take this double burden into account.
Existing studies were reviewed, and other data were processed specifically for the purpose of this article. Several data sources were used to include a broad, comprehensive population range.
The prevalence of stunting in children aged <2 y is 10.9%. There is a high frequency of obesity, which increases with age (9.5% in children <2 y old, 18.8% in those aged 6 y, 20.4% in those aged 11 y, 26.6% in those aged 13-15 y, and 35.3% in adults). In addition, 13.8% of women start pregnancy underweight and the rate of obesity increases during pregnancy from 36.7% at the beginning to 46.5% at the end. Anemia is very frequent in the selected population we examined, as follows: 31% of children <2 y old and 20.9% of pregnant women in their third trimester. An obese mother with a stunted child are present in 6.3% of households; 1.9% of stunted children are obese at age 6 y and 3.1% are obese at the age of 11. Multiple logistic analysis applied to children <2 y showed an association between stunting and obesity (OR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.2, 3.6).
The data suggest that there is a nutritional double burden in Uruguay. This nutritional burden is similar to that of other countries in the region. This important public issue should be tackled, and it should be addressed in early infancy.