Actions to address different forms of malnutrition are typically managed by separate communities, policies, programmes, governance structures, and funding streams. By contrast, double-duty actions, which aim to simultaneously tackle both undernutrition and problems of overweight, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases (DR-NCDs) have been proposed as a way to effectively address malnutrition in all its forms in a more holisitic way. This Series paper identifies ten double-duty actions that have strong potential to reduce the risk of both undernutrition, obesity, and DR-NCDs.

Acceleration of progress in nutrition will require effective, large-scale nutrition-sensitive programmes that address key underlying determinants of nutrition and enhance the coverage and effectiveness of nutrition-specific interventions. We reviewed evidence of nutritional effects of programmes in four sectors—agriculture, social safety nets, early child development, and schooling.

Food-assisted maternal and child health and nutrition programmes usually target underweight children younger than 5 years of age. Previous evidence suggests that targeting nutrition interventions earlier in life, before children become undernourished, might be more effective for reduction of childhood undernutrition.