Amidst the deluge of theories about the causes of the world’s obesity problem comes a novel idea from the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) that obesity can actually be caused by not eating enough.

Its study has focused on pregnant women and has concluded that where they are undernourished, there is a “growing body of empirical evidence” suggesting that their foetal tissues are programmed to “get the most out of the food energy available.”

This ability is retained after a baby is born and onwards into adulthood, “leading to over-nourishment in adult life when coupled with greater food availability and a more sedentary lifestyle.”