Opinion article* published in The Newcastle Herald written by Associate Professor Surinder Baines, nutrition and dietetics expert at the University of Newcastle’s School of Health Sciences.

It is well known that people who live in resource-poor countries have inadequate food intakes, with diets that are limited in the variety of foods consumed. Much of the focus regarding nutritional inadequacy and related health outcomes has been on vulnerable groups and wasting, stunting and nutritional deficiencies have been reported as common problems in infants and young children. The cause of death from infections is likely to remain high as the spread of disease is common.

On the other hand, several developing countries are in economic transition with subsequent changes in lifestyle for many people. Rapid economic growth and increased modernisation has led to a significant change in food-consumption patterns. Communities in both urban and rural areas are replacing their intake of traditional staple foods including wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables with foods and beverages that are high in energy. An increase in the number of convenience stores and supermarkets has resulted in processed foods being readily available and many of these products have a high sugar and fat content.

The over-consumption of energy-dense foods has resulted in an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in some low-middle income countries.

Read the full article in The Newcastle Herald.

* Opinion pieces represent the author’s views.