The Nutrition Transition


The following page uses a number of resources including worksheets adapted from Popkin's model to explore how the nutrition transition varies from region to region. It then begins to critique the model by introducing the double burden through a WHO infographic and a number of country profiles in both video and PDF. It concludes with a student investigation into the health profile of Mali.

Enquiry Question

What is the nutrition transition how is it experienced in different regions of the world?

Lesson Time: 1 Hour

Lesson Objectives:

  • To define and describe the nutrition transition

  • To explain how the nutrition transition is associated with different countries/regions at different stages of development

  • To explain how some countries/regions have a double burden in the nutrition transition

Teacher Notes:

1. Starter Activity_ Synthesis - Show the students the starter image for 3 seconds. Based on the what they see they should briefly discuss with a partner their interpretation of the photo and write down a sentence to describe how they think it relates to our course.

2. The Nutrition Transition Model_Synthesis - Give student the nutrition transition worksheet and students should describe the stage of development associated with the model adapted from Popkin 2002

Then show students the diagram of the full model alongside the demographic and epidemiological transition models

3. Countries and the Nutrition Transition_ Places and Synthesis - Students should then work with the second worksheet where they should attempt to link different countries and regions to the second model showing the causes of the nutrition transition.

The second question has consider what earlier patterns of food and nutrition look like. Follow this up with a debrief on the main causes of the transition. Show them the full model with the 5 stages.

4. Infographic_Processes_The Double Burden Students can then either work directly within the site or you can control the infogaphic from the whiteboard. Students should use the infographic to answer the following questions:

  • Describe what the double burden is
  • Describe it in data
  • Describe it in scale

5. Video Resources_Processes_ The Double Burden Show students the two videos that then question the transition model by showing the double burden in developing countries and NICs

6. Student Assessment - Investigation-Place and Processes -Finally students should investigate the WHO PDF health summary of Mali. They should describe where Mali stands in terms of the Nutrition Transition. They should use evidence from the summary to justify their choice.

This could be followed up with the video explaining the double burden experienced in Mali and students can make notes.

Starter Activity_Synthesis_Flash Photo Definition

You will be shown an image for 3 seconds. Based on the what you see briefly discuss with a partner your interpretation of the photo and write down a sentence to describe how you think it relates to our course.


Student Activity_Synthesis_The Nutrition Transition Model

Study the diagram of the nutrition transition and for each stage write down a description of the state of development at that stage

Nutrition Transition

The Demographic Transition Model


Show the students the following model

Source: Stages of the nutrition transition. (From Popkin BM (2002)

Student Activity_Places and Synthesis_The Nutrition Transition and Regional Variation in Consumption

Complete the activity on the worksheet provided to identify country/regional differences associated with the nutrition transition

What do you think patterns 1 and 2 would look like in terms of types of food and nutrition within the model and which countries or regions would you associate with those patterns?

The Nutrition Transition and regional Variation


MCH - Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin

NR-NCD - Nutrition Related - Non Communicable Diseases

CHO - Carbonhydrates

Source: Popkin 2002 Revised 2006

Student Activity_Processes_The Double Burden Infographic

Study the WHO Infographic on the double burden of malnutrition and

1. Describe what the double burden is

2. Describe it in data

3. Describe it in scale

Student Activity_Processes_The Double Burden of the Nutrition Transition

Watch the following video clips from the WHO-FAO and MD-FM on the double burden of malnutrition in developing countries.

Student Activity_Places and Processes_Mali Health Investigation

Using the WHO PDF on the health summary of Mali describe where Mali stands in terms of the Nutrition Transition. Use evidence from the summary to justify your choice.

This should be structured as a report

  • The report should be no more than 1 page typed, including diagrams
  • The report should begin by stating where Mali stands on the Nutrition Transition. Nutrition Transition should be clearly defined.
  • The justifications should cover a broad range of evidence from the resource and be clearly linked to Nutrition Transition and Mali as well as the student assessment in the introduction
  • Resource evidence must not be copy and pasted but rather paraphrased and then developed with the student's own knowledge making wider links.
  • Diagrams and charts may be used but must be integrated into the argument.


Follow this up by showing the video clip on Mali

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