Toward Food Policy for the Dual Burden of Malnutrition: An Exploratory Policy Space Analysis in India

Anne Marie Thow, Suneetha Kadiyala, Shweta Khandelwal, Purnima Menon, Shauna Downs, K. Srinath Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: There is global consensus that a strong policy response is essential for addressing the dual burden of malnutrition. However, policy makers in low- and middle-income countries may perceive a conflict between food supply policies to combat persistent undernutrition and more recent recommendations for policies addressing rising rates of diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Objective: This article explores the potential to use policy space analysis to identify food supply policy opportunities for addressing both undernutrition and diet-related NCDs and to support improved policy coherence. Methods: We conducted an exploratory policy space analysis to identify opportunities and constraints for integrated nutrition policy with respect to the food supply in India, where a dual burden of malnutrition has been well documented. We conducted a review of food supply policies and 27 key informant interviews (16 with stakeholders active in India's national nutrition policy space, and 11 with policy makers and experts in food supply policy). Results: The analysis suggests several opportunities for an integrated food supply policy agenda, including targeting common foods of concern (such as highly processed foods) and foods that present common benefits (such as fruits and vegetables), and scaling up existing small-scale policy initiatives that support the availability of nutrient-rich foods. Challenges include policy inertia and competing priorities within the economic sector. Conclusion: This scoping study indicates that the policy space analysis framework used here can help to identify specific, contextually appropriate policy options and strategies for strengthening public health nutrition policy within sectors responsible for food supply policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • dual burden
  • noncommunicable disease
  • nutrition
  • policy
  • policy space
  • undernutrition

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