Undernutrition and its social determinants
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Undernutrition, especially among young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) remains widespread, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Its effects include increased risk of morbidity and mortality from infection, impaired intellectual development, and a higher risk of developing obesity and chronic noncommunicable diseases in later life. The immediate determinants are intake of inadequate diets and increased disease. Underlying these are food insecurity, suboptimal social care (including breastfeeding), and inadequate health and environmental services. These, in turn, are underpinned by a combination of social and structural factors that include limited education of women, lack of financial and other resources at household level, and a food environment in an increasing number of countries that promotes consumption of a nutrient-poor diet.