Document Type


Date of Original Version




Despite increasing research on the double burden of malnutrition (DBM; i.e., coexisting over- and undernutrition), there is no global consensus on DBM definitions. Objectives

To identify published operational DBM definitions, measure their frequency of use, and discuss implications for future assessment. Methods

Following a structured search of peer-reviewed articles with terms describing “overnutrition” [e.g., overweight/obesity (OW/OB)] and “undernutrition” (e.g., stunting, micronutrient deficiency), we screened 1920 abstracts, reviewed 500 full texts, and extracted 623 operational definitions from 239 eligible articles. Results

We organized three identified DBM dimensions (level of assessment, target population, and forms of malnutrition) into a framework for building operational DBM definitions. Frequently occurring definitions included coexisting: 1) OW/OB and thinness, wasting, or underweight (n = 289 occurrences); 2) OW/OB and stunting (n = 161); 3) OW/OB and anemia (n = 74); and 4) OW/OB and micronutrient deficiency (n = 73). Conclusions

Existing DBM definitions vary widely. Putting structure to possible definitions may facilitate selection of fit-for-purpose indicators to meet public health priorities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License