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J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11 Suppl 2):3898S-3906S. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.11.3898S.

Dynamics of the nutrition transition toward the animal foods sector in China and its implications: a worried perspective.

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Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997, USA.


Many changes in diet and in physical activity are occurring simultaneously in the developing world. These diet shifts include large increases in energy density, in the proportion of the population consuming a high fat diet and in animal product intake. Animal source foods (ASF) play a major role in these diet shifts. This article documents the large shifts in the composition of diets and obesity across the developing world and notes that these changes are accelerating. Using China as a case study, evidence of the speeding up of this process is presented in descriptive and more rigorous dynamic longitudinal analysis. The implications of these changes for dietary and obesity patterns and cardiovascular disease are great. Indeed, developing countries are at a point where the prevalence of obesity is greater than that of undernutrition and concerns related to intake of saturated fat and energy imbalance must be considered more seriously by the agriculture sector. Current agriculture development policy in many developing countries focuses on livestock promotion and does not consider the potential adverse health consequences of this strategy. Although linkages between ASF intake and obesity cannot be established as clearly as they are for high ASF intakes, heart disease and cancer, the potential adverse health effects linked with an increased ASF intake should no longer be ignored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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