Latin America confronts a nutritional paradox: the region still needs to combat stunting and undernutrition, but obesity is also on the rise.
Latin America is in the midst of a “nutrition transition.” People across the region are moving from diets high in cereal and fiber to diets high in sugar, fat, and animal protein. Where undernutrition was once the primary concern, overnutrition is now also a problem. Paradoxically, both under- and overnutrition can coexist in the same family and even in the same individual. Lia Haskin Fernald, a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, calls the combination the “nutritional paradox,” and it currently affects pockets of poor, often indigenous populations throughout Latin America.