Case Synopsis

Sanji Suresh, a senior-level researcher at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Institute of Health Development, received a document containing national child development survey data from Thailand. The data indicates that children under the age of five have high rates of being overweight and stunted. After seeing this literature, Sanji realizes that there is the potential for a double burden of malnutrition in Thailand. Sanji is tasked with identifying current initiatives and possible solutions to help address this dual burden. The country’s diverse sociodemographic data adds to the complications Sanji must account for to ensure the health of the children of Thailand. Being underweight in early childhood can predispose children to be overweight and have noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life. Sanji understands that the establishment of healthful behaviours and physical activity patterns during early childhood are key to health promotion and act as protective factors against noncommunicable disease over the child's life. Realizing the complexity of addressing such an immense problem, will Sanji be able to come up with suggestions to tackle it?

Case Objectives

  1. Understand the concept of the double burden of malnutrition and nutrition transition.
  2. Understand measurements and standards related to calculating the double burden of malnutrition such as those measuring stunting, wasting, and being overweight.
  3. Evaluate some of the sociodemographic factors associated with overnutrition and undernutrition and develop strategies to address them.
  4. Identify current and future initiatives in Thailand to address overnutrition and undernutrition with key consideration of “double-duty actions”.
  5. Explore the life course approach to help navigate a complex public health issue.

Case Study Questions

  1. What kinds of integrative strategies that incorporate double-duty actions can be used in Thailand to reduce the rates of undernutrition and overnutrition?
  2. How can we account for the diverse sociodemographic backgrounds of the population in Thailand to ensure its needs are met?
  3. How can the life course approach be applied to some of the strategies to tackle the double burden of malnutrition?


double burden of malnutrition, double-duty actions, life course approach, overnutrition, overweight, stunting, Thailand, undernutrition, wasting, child development



Recommended Citation

Benedict, L., Tejativaddhana, P., Kasemsup, V., Ah Hong, S., & McKinley, G. (2020). The Double Burden of Malnutrition: Challenges and Opportunities in Thailand in: McKinley, G. & Speechley, M. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2020. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.