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Stunting, undernutrition and obesity: the triple threat of childhood malnutrition

Guest edited by Prof. Andrew Prentice and Dr. Martha Mwangome

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The global burden of undernutrition in children has been declining but now shows evidence of an upturn, whilst the burden of obesity is rising at an alarming rate [1].  Mounting evidence is now alluding to the so-called ‘double burden’ epidemic in some countries [2], whereby high rates of under nutrition and obesity are found within the same country due to the increased availability of unhealthy foods and disposable income. Given the potential knock-on effects such as impairment of brain development and the immune system, as well as future development of chronic diseases, greater efforts are required to tackle these problems. Ending these issues by 2030 is one of the WHO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and achieving a major reduction in stunting is a global target for 2025 [3].

We are seeking both primary research articles and front-matter content (such as Reviews and Opinions) that highlight the global scale of these crucial problems; identify mediating factors and contributing influences that cause or exasperate these problems; and discuss the impact of clinical and policy-based solutions. We would be particularly keen to receive submissions on the following topics:

  • Monitoring global trends of stunting, undernutrition and obesity
  • The impact of the maternal and infant gut microbiome on obesity
  • Associations between malnutrition and infections and chronic diseases
  • Epigenetic and environmental factors that influence nutrition
  • Interventional studies, such as those investigating the effect of nutrient supplements, WASH practices, or increasing physical activity
  • Government policies, like the sugar tax

We welcome direct submission of original research within the article collection's scope. Please submit directly to BMC Medicine, indicating in your cover letter that you are targeting this collection. Alternatively, you can email a pre-submission query to the editorial team at This is an open collection and we will be accepting submissions until November 2020. 

[1] Joint child malnutrition estimates 2018 (UNICEF-WHO-WB). The World Bank. 2018. Accessed 08 Feb 2019.
[2] Prentice A. The Double Burden of Malnutrition in Countries Passing through the Economic Transition. Ann Nutr Metab. 2018;72(3):47-54.
[3] Global Targets 2025: To improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition. The World Health Organization. 2014. Accessed 08 Feb 2019.  

Guest Editors provided guidance on the scope of this collection and advised on commissioned content. However, they are not involved in editorial decision-making on papers submitted to this collection. All final editorial decisions are with the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Lin Lee.​