Transitional Factors that Cause the Simultaneous Presence of Undernutrition and Obesity in Developing Countries, a Lecture by Dr. Dan Hoffman, Ph.D., March 12, 2014
Dr. Hoffman studies the biological and environmental factors that cause obesity. His research investigates how changes in substrate oxidation may predispose an individual to an increase in body fat. Dr. Hoffman collaborates with the University of São Paulo, Brazil and the University of Southampton, UK in the study of two large, unique cohorts. In Brazil, Dr. Hoffman follows a cohort of over 600 children in the shanty towns of São Paulo in order to discern the factors that affect nutrition and health in this population.
Dr. Hoffman is also involved in evaluating the roles of an influx of multinational supermarkets on obesity in transitional countries such as Bulgaria. The aim of this research is to determine the parameters that dictate whether an individual will shop exclusively at a large supermarket versus a traditional public market.
In his lecture, Dr. Hoffman first discussed the current state of nutrition throughout the Developing world. Countries discussed were China, Korea, countries in Africa, and countries of the former Soviet Union. Then Dr. Hoffman discussed his own research on nutrition and children in São Paulo, Brazil.
Developing countries are currently facing the dual problems of undernutrition and obesity within the same population. Poor nutrition is often reflected by the rate of stunting in the population of a particular country. Stunting occurs when there is inadequate nutrition in the first few years of life that prevents a growth spurt from occurring. Dr. Hoffman showed the following slide:
Children do not grow on a continuous basis, but, in fact, have growth spurts at specific times in the first few years of life. The slide depicts that undernutrition during one of these growth spurts can lead to limited growth at that particular time leading to stunting in the young adult and adult.
At the same time as incidents of undernutrition in certain areas of the country, there is now occurring throughout the developing world, movement of people from rural areas to cities.
In so doing, people who are new to urban life are more prone to become obese because they no longer walk as much as they did in the rural areas, and their diet changes from locally grown food to food (often fast food) purchased in shops. An example of this is shown in the figure below:
Dr. Hoffman assigned the following articles for the class to read:
Andrew M Prentice. The emerging epidemic of obesity in
developing countries. International Journal of Epidemiology 2006;35:93–99
Daniel J. Hoffman , Dylan J. Klein. Growth in transitional countries: The long-term impact of under-nutrition on health. Annals of Human Biology
September-October 2012, Vol. 39, No. 5 , Pages 395-401
Available through Rutgers Libraries
Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03014460.2012.705893