While outright hunger is practically non-existent in Bolivia by now, malnutrition is still a widespread problem, showing itself mainly in the forms of stunting and/or obesity.
Malnutrition in early childhood has been shown to affect brain development, thus generating permanent adverse effects on learning and future income generation. Due to the long term damage caused by inadequate food quality and hygiene in early childhood, the Bolivian government has implemented many nutritional programs over the last several decades, and general malnutrition for children under five years old has fallen by more than 50% since 1990. However, chronic malnutrition is still high in the Bolivian Altiplano, with 39% of under-fives in Potosí being classified as chronically malnourished. In contrast, this is only the case for 9% of under-fives in the department of Santa Cruz1.
On the other hand, health surveys indicate that close to half of adult women in Bolivia are either overweight or obese, with important implications for general health and well-being.