Hidden Hunger Congress: Overweight and Malnourished

Both overweight and suffering from malnutrition: This phenomenon, termed a “double burden,” is arising more frequently not just in industrialized nations but also in emerging and developing countries. It comes from a poor diet, which is often due to a lack of knowledge, a lack of healthy alternatives, and the increasing marketing activities of global food companies that have discovered less developed countries as a market for fast food. This double burden as a special form of hidden hunger is the focus of the 4th International Congress Hidden Hunger. Representatives from science, politics, and the private sector will meet at this expert conference at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. The congress will take place from 27 February until 1 March 2019. Media representatives are invited to the congress and the press conference on 27 Feb 2019 at 1:20 p.m. Please register using the attached fax response sheet.

The double burden of malnutrition and being overweight affects rich and poor countries equally, emphasized Prof. Dr. Hans-Konrad Biesalski from the University of Hohenheim. The reasons for the problem are the same around the world: “Fast food is cheap and full of energy. A lot of people don’t know that it does not contain many vitamins.” That’s why enjoying burgers and other fast food can make people overweight, and yet the food not provide enough nutrients, especially for children.

“15% of children and youth in Germany are overweight, and around 6% of them are considered obese. For children from families with a low socioeconomic status, the number is almost triple that,” warned Prof. Dr. Biesalski.

The nutrition specialist physician Prof. Dr. Hans-Konrad Biesalski pointed out that in Germany there are problems not only with people being overweight, but also with hidden hunger. “Studies of 350 German children between the ages of 1-3 showed a clear micronutrient deficiency.” The children have deficiencies especially of calcium, iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

“The only way we can counteract the problem is by raising awareness,” stated the doctor. “Besides that, state regulations can make unhealthy foods less attractive, protecting children from low-income families.” One way to counteract the problem could be a sugar tax, for example.

Hidden Hunger – A Global Problem

Hidden hunger exists not only in Germany. Around the world, approximately 2 billion people suffer from a micronutrient deficiency with children being particularly affected. At the same time, the number of people who are overweight and obese is increasing.

“In emerging and developing countries, more and more people are overweight and obese,” stated Prof. Dr. Regina Birner from the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics. That does not mean that they have an adequate supply of all nutrients. “An unbalanced and poor diet can lead to a person being both overweight and having nutrient deficiencies.” The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls this the “double burden of malnutrition.”

At the 4th International Congress Hidden Hunger, experts from science, politics, and the private sector will discuss possibilities for counteracting this double burden.

Topics of the 4th International Congress Hidden Hunger

• Consequences of hidden hunger
• The double burden as a global problem
• Measures against hidden hunger with examples from industrialized and emerging countries
• The role of industrialized countries in fighting hidden hunger globally
• Measures and possibilities for politics – in Germany and internationally

Registration is requested using the attached fax response sheet. Media representatives can receive a free accreditation for the entire congress.

Background: Hidden Hunger

Just getting enough calories does not prevent malnutrition. Especially children suffer serious consequences if they are affected by hidden hunger, that is, an insufficient amount of essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. The number of children with hidden hunger is estimated at 180 million worldwide (WHO). This problem can be found primarily in poor countries, but Prof. Dr. Biesalski emphasized that it also affects highly developed countries such as Germany or the USA: “20 % of children in Germany live in relative poverty. They also often do not have an adequate supply of micronutrients.”

The Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutritional Science and the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics at the University of Hohenheim are organizing the Hidden Hunger Congress in cooperation with the Society of Nutrition and Food Science (SNFS).

Additional Information

4th International Congress Hidden Hunger: https://hiddenhunger.uni-hohenheim.de/en

To the University of Hohenheim’s press releases: https://www.uni-hohenheim.de/en/press

Text: Dannehl

contact for scientific information:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Konrad Biesalski, University of Hohenheim, Department of Biological Chemistry and Nutritional Science
T +49 711/459 24112, E biesal@uni-hohenheim.de

Prof. Dr. Regina Birner, University of Hohenheim, Department of Social and Institutional Change in Agricultural Development
T +49 711/459 23812, E Regina.Birner@uni-hohenheim.de

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