An increasing number of developing countries must shoulder a "double burden" of malnutrition, the persistence of undernutrition, especially among children, along with a rapid rise of overnutrition and diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease. The growing burden of non-communicable diseases is associated with a substantial rise in public health and social expenditures. Given current economic and social trends, observed changes in dietary patterns are likely to continue and - combined with changes in lifestyle, particularly the decrease in physical activity - will exacerbate emerging problems of overnutrition and diet-related chronic disease.
Our focus is thus concentrated on the relationship between micronutrient deficiencies - especially vitamin A - and diabetes as an important non-communicable disease associated with overweight. In cooperation with the Department of Experimental Food Science (Prof. H. Rawel) we are addressing the question from the basic availability from the diet to its physiological and pathophysiological impact in the target population. Innovative analytical approaches are used to improve quality control on all levels of supplementation.