Global prevalence of malnutrition: evidence from literature
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Malnutrition is a widespread problem, affecting the global population at some life stage. This public health epidemic targets everyone, but the most vulnerable groups are poverty-stricken people, young children, adolescents, older people, those who are with illness and have a compromised immune system, as well as lactating and pregnant women. Malnutrition includes both undernutrition (wasting, stunting, underweight, and mineral- and vitamin-related malnutrition) and overnutrition (overweight, obesity, and diet-related noncommunicable diseases). In combating malnutrition, healthcare costs increase, productivity is reduced, and economic growth is staggered, thus perpetuating the cycle of ill health and poverty. The best-targeted age for addressing malnutrition is the first 1000 days of life as this window period is ideal for intervention implementation and tracking for the improvement of child growth and development. There is an unprecedented opportunity to address the various forms of malnutrition, especially the 2016-2025 Decade of Action on Nutrition set by the United Nation. This aims to achieve the relevant targets of the Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end hunger and improve nutrition, as well as promote well-being and ensure healthy lives.