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Undernutrition among children in South and South-East Asia


Associate Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, 4th Level, Clinical Sciences Building, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Vic. 3050, Australia. Fax: +61 3 9347 1863; email:


Undernutrition remains a major public health problem among children living in Asia. Although the burden is maximal among poorer, rural and Indigenous communities, the problem affects the majority in many Asian countries, especially in South Asia. In order to prevent the pervasive consequences of undernutrition, strategies that address this burden are required. Successful implementation of strategies may be limited by the complex aetiology of undernutrition, including the political setting. Rising food insecurity because of climate change, land use for biofuel production and the recent global financial crisis threaten to exacerbate childhood malnutrition. In this review, we describe the burden of undernutrition among Asian children and discuss contributing factors and potential solutions.