More than half elderly underweight, overweight in Pakistan: survey



More than half (53.9 percent) of the elderly population of the country do not have normal weight as they were either underweight or overweight.

According to the findings, 15.8 percent of the elderly are underweight, 24.2 percent are overweight while 13.9 percent fall under the category of  obese.

The latest National Nutrition Survey released by Planning and Development Division, Planning Commission of Pakistan revealed that to collect the statistics an illustrative sample of 7,612 elderly persons was examined at their residence.

The data revealed that stunting, wasting and micronutrient malnutrition are endemic in Pakistan.

These are caused by a combination of dietary deficiencies, poor maternal and child health and nutrition, a high burden of morbidity and low micronutrient content in the soil, especially iodine and zinc.

Most of this micronutrient has profound effects on immunity, growth and mental development. They may underlie the high burden of morbidity and mortality among women and children in the country, the survey said.

Increasing rates of chronic and acute malnutrition in the country is primarily due to poverty, high illiteracy rates among mothers and food insecurity. Such rates can also be attributed to inherent problems in infant feeding practices and lack of access to the age-appropriate foods.