The WHO South-East Asia Region (South-East Asia Region) is the most populous region in the world with high levels of poverty, disease burden and malnutrition. The combination of rapid nutritional, epidemiological and demographic transition has impacted the nutritional profile in Member States of the Region.
While rates of undernutrition, including micronutrient malnutrition, are slowly declining, a significant increase in overweight and obesity – the double burden – is seen in many age groups. There is also an associated rapid resurgence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The extent of the double burden varies across Member States, requiring urgent and sustained efforts to address, combat and overcome undernutrition, overweight and obesity, as well as NCDs associated. The identification, promotion and implementation of double action actions that simultaneously and synergistically address undernutrition as well as overweight, obesity and diet-related NCDs in key policy areas are seen as inevitably important opportunities and immediate priorities.
The Strategic Action Plan to Reduce the Double Burden of Malnutrition in the WHO South-East Asia Region 2016-2025 was developed and endorsed in 2016 based on these considerations and deliberations.
This strategic plan aims to provide guidance to the 11 Member States of the Region on comprehensive approaches to reducing the double burden of malnutrition. It serves Member States as an advocacy and reference tool to ensure that interventions covering all forms of malnutrition are comprehensively considered in national policies, strategies and actions.
The strategic action plan has been implemented for more than five years now. The Regional Committee (RC) for South-East Asia resolution stated that the WHO Secretariat should conduct a mid-term review of progress in implementing the Strategic Action Plan and its achievements and report to the next CR meeting.