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January 13th, 2020

Indonesia’s triple burden of malnutrition

Published by Hivos, IIED,

This study (PDF) by Hivos,IIED, Universitas Jember, Tanoker Ledokombo and Kementeran Sosial aimed to better understand the triple burden of malnutrition, diets, and the drivers of food choices in East Java, Indonesia. The ‘triple burden of malnutrition’ is particularly stark in Indonesia, where there are both high rates of both childhood chronic undernutrition and overweight. Yet there is very little data available on people’s diets in Indonesia and few methods adapted to measure the triple burden. Some key findings are: 1) A sizeable proportion of respondents do not meet the minimal daily dietary diveristy target; 2) Ultra-processed foods and sweets are widely consumed and are potentially related to a range of health problems; 3) The dietary species richeness score revealed that in general people rely on just a few foods and there was little diveristy within food groups; 4) Most people source their food from markets and vendors; 5) Food choices are driven by several factors including cost and dietary habits. Poverty and cost were limiting dietary diversification. Achieving healthier diets requires action on several fronts. To improvide children’s diets includes food  culture in schools and developing a whole-family approach. Stronger regulation of commercial food processing is needed as well as better use of local dietary guidelines. Lastly, policymakers should better align agricultural policy with dietary needs. Concerning the triple burden of malnutrition, currently, they are being dealth with as seperate issues, while a more holistic appraoch is needed, which includes: 1) Straighforward dietary assessment methods for researchers; 2) Easy-to-use dietary indicator accounting for healthy and unhealthy foods; 3) Dietary species richness score is a promising new indicator; 4) Self-administered food diaries are a step forward, allowing people to collect their own dietary data. These actions would help to build a fuller picture of diets in different contexts for use in policies and programmes aimed at tackling the urgent problem of the triple burden of malnutrition.

Curated from sustainablediets4all.org