Food insecurity is, by definition, “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” For many people around the globe, securing a reliable source of nutritious food is a daily struggle. One of the greatest challenges that faces the world today is ensuring that the world’s growing population has enough food to meet its needs. Below are five facts about food insecurity and possible solutions to the world’s growing food requirements.
Facts About Global Food Insecurity
- There is more than enough food produced in the world today to feed all people sufficiently. So why do 815 million people go hungry every day? Food waste is a leading cause of food instability. Approximately one-third of the world’s food production is thrown away or lost due to poor farming practices.
- After steadily decreasing for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise. Global hunger affects approximately 11 percent of the global population today. This rise in global hunger has been attributed to a famine which struck a large part of Africa in 2017. It is important to note that many global famines and natural disasters often affect the parts of the world that are hit by food instability the hardest.
- Food insecurity has adverse effects on children. Stunted growth, a lack of nourishment leading to underdevelopment in children, is directly caused by food insecurity. Stunting affects nearly 155 million children under the age of five in the world today. This contrasts trends of child and adult obesity in first world countries, which highlights the need for a change in the way people look at food and the practices used when distributing food supplies.
- Food insecurity and obesity coexist. In many countries, nutritious healthy foods are often scarce and therefore competition for them is high. Many people turn to easily obtained, calorie-dense foods that lead to obesity. An example of this is farmers turning to high calorie, less nutritious foods to preserve their healthy food crops for profits.
- Of all of the countries adversely affected by food insecurity, those most affected are areas involved in violent conflicts. Of the 815 million people experiencing food insecurity, nearly 500 million live in areas affected by conflict. Food supplies are often stolen under military protections or targets for strategic military actions when areas are in war times. This leads to food destruction and constant food insecurity in countries which often need food the most. This can be seen in many countries around the world today such as the Sudan regions of Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Libya and rural countries throughout Asia.
This issue is a growing problem in the world today. One of the largest challenges of today’s generation is figuring out a way to reliably feed the world’s ever-increasing population. Preventing food waste and changing agricultural practices will certainly be the first step to ending food insecurity worldwide. Preventing armed conflicts around the globe and providing nutritious food to the world’s youth will also be on the agenda for those facing food insecurity head-on. Those fighting this major issue have a long road and many challenges ahead in ending food insecurity around the globe.
– Dalton Westfall