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Peri-Urban, but Not Urban, Residence in Bolivia Is Associated with Higher Odds of Co-Occurrence of Overweight and Anemia among Young Children, and of Households with an Overweight Woman and Stunted Child

Urban populations have grown globally alongside emerging simultaneous burdens of undernutrition and obesity. Yet, how heterogeneous urban environments are associated with this nutritional double burden is poorly understood.

We aimed to determine: 1) the prevalence of the nutritional double burden and its components in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas of Bolivia; and 2) the association of residence in these areas with the nutritional double burden and its components.

We surveyed 3946 randomly selected households from 2 metropolitan regions of Bolivia. Census data and remotely sensed imagery were used to define urban, peri-urban, and rural districts along a transect in each region. We defined 5 nutritional double burdens: concurrent overweight and anemia among women of reproductive age (15–49 y), and children (6–59 mo), respectively; concurrent overweight and stunting among children; and households with an overweight woman and, respectively, an anemic or stunted child. Capillary hemoglobin concentrations were measured to assess anemia (women: hemoglobin <120 g/L; children: hemoglobin <110 g/L), and overweight and stunting were calculated from height, weight, and age data.

In multiple logistic regression models, peri-urban, but not urban residence, was associated with higher odds of concurrent overweight and anemia among children (OR: 1.8; 95% CI; 1.0, 3.2) and of households with an overweight woman and stunted child (1.8; 1.2, 2.7). Examining the components of the double burden, peri-urban women and children, respectively, had higher odds of overweight than rural residents [women (1.5; 1.2, 1.8); children (1.5; 1.0, 2.4)], and children from peri-urban regions had higher odds of stunting (1.5; 1.1, 2.2).

Peri-urban, but not urban, residence in Bolivia is associated with a higher risk of the nutritional double burden than rural areas. Understanding how heterogeneous urban environments influence nutrition outcomes could inform integrated policies that simultaneously address both undernutrition and obesity.

Authors: Andrew D Jones; Lesli Hoey; Jennifer Blesh; Kathryn Janda; Ramiro Llanque; Ana María Aguilar
Publication: The Journal of Nutrition
Published: April 2018

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