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The “triple burden of malnutrition” meaning the coexistence of undernutrition, overweight and obesity and micronutrient deficiencies, is a growing challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Nutrition transition refers to changes in lifestyle and dietary patterns driven by ongoing urbanization, globalization and economic growth and is rapidly taking place in some developing countries.

The triple burden of malnutrition


Overweight and obesity

Micronutrient deficiencies

Three forms of malnutrition

The nutritional situation in Tanzania (TZ) is already facing these three forms of malnutrition. Overweight and obesity occur due to a positive balance of energy intake, which is – despite the dietary intake – also linked to an inadequate level of physical activity. Data on physical activity levels of the Tanzania population are limited. The increased prevalence of overweight and obesity can be partly attributed to the urbanized lifestyle leading to unhealthy dietary practices and increasing levels of physical inactivity/sedentary behaviour, fuelling a rise in diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer. All these risk factors are lifestyle related and it is important to address changes in dietary patterns simultaneously with the levels of physical activity that a country such as Tanzania is transiting into to combat the triple burden of malnutrition.

  • FoCo-Active will design an innovative approach to ensure combating the three forms of malnutrition (undernutrition, overweight/obesity, micronutrient-deficiencies) in an urban and rural setting by optimising dietary intake and physical activity.

  • FoCo-Active will use a household approach and selected target groups are women of reproductive age, corresponding men and school children all living in the same household (total individuals= 1500).

  • The project will simultaneously investigate the food and physical activity environments, diets, consumer behaviour and physical activity levels/sedentary behaviour of both target populations to identify and develop modification options to improve the nutrition and health status.

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