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10 Disturbing Facts about Hunger
Hunger is not simply a lack of food. It is also the sustained physiological and psychological changes in a human body from the persistent unavailability of nutritious meals at least three times a day. Achieving zero hunger across the world by 2030 is the second of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Here are 10 disturbing facts about hunger.

10 Disturbing Facts about Hunger

  1. One in nine people around the world goes to sleep hungry every night. At present, 25,000 people die of hunger each day which translates to around 9 million deaths annually. This is equivalent to the number of people living in the state of Virginia. Most of these deaths are preventable.
  2. The number of people suffering from acute hunger rose from 80 million in 2016 to 120 million in 2018. The highest rates of hunger are in Africa and South Asia. Among the 119 countries that the Global Hunger Index scores, the Central African Republic ranks last with a GHI score of 53.7, which is alarming. The global average GHI is 20.9.
  3. Hunger is gender-biased in many food-insecure households. Most of this has to do with the fact that many societies around the world encourage paternalism. In such households, sons and other male members are better fed than daughters and other female members. This bias in food insecurity between both sexes most prominently exists in Africa, followed by Latin America and Asia.
  4. When listing 10 disturbing facts about hunger, it is important to discuss food waste. Humans waste roughly one-third of the total food the world produces. North America and Oceania together waste the highest amount of food. Estimates show that food wasted in rich countries is equal to the total food that sub-Saharan Africa produces. The amount of food wasted in a year can feed 2 billion people for a year. Hence, the problem of hunger is not due to inadequate food production but rather the inefficient distribution of food to the world’s population.
  5. Poverty is the biggest cause of hunger. Other causes of hunger include war and conflict, political instability, poor infrastructure and food policies, population increases, rising urbanization, unstable economic conditions and climate change.
  6. Changing weather patterns are destroying agricultural land through acidification, desertification, flooding and rising sea-levels. Climate change reduces the crop yield due to erratic rain and drought seasons, which cause an increase in crop diseases and extreme heat. Global warming and rising levels of carbon dioxide also reduce the nutritional quality of food, meaning that people have to eat more to gain optimum levels of nutrition.
  7. Hunger forces people (especially in countries like Haiti and Cameroon) to eat mud. Mud cakes are a delicacy for the poorest earthquake survivors of Haiti. People mix mud, salt and margarine together and dry it in the sun. It is the cheapest way to assuage hunger in children and pregnant women who also believe it to be a source of calcium to help their growing fetus. Experts have determined that this is not true and that mud cakes have no nutritional value.
  8. Poor health and hunger form a vicious cycle. People suffering from chronic hunger also suffer from debilitating health conditions, including severe malnutrition and anemia, lowered immunity causing recurring infections and chronic health conditions such as heart diseases and diabetes. People who cannot afford food are also unlikely to access any health services. Their circumstances render them unable to go out and work leading to continuous poverty, bad health and hunger situations.
  9. Hunger damages the health of children irreversibly. Children born to undernourished mothers have lower rates of survival beyond 5 years of age. Data from UNICEF attributes half of all under-5 deaths to malnutrition which means that around 3 million children die of malnutrition every year. Such kids lose the opportunity to go to school. Children suffering from malnourishment lose up to 160 days of school. Some 66 million children in primary schools go to school hungry.
  10. Unfortunately, 80 percent of the families that face hunger are farmers. This is because although these people produce food for the world, most of the time they do not own the land they work on. Those who do own land are often not able to earn profits from their yield due to high input costs such as fertilizers, seeds and machines. These farmers also often do not have the means to store and transport their products.

These 10 disturbing facts about hunger may paint a grim picture of the world but all is not lost. Countries can fight hunger by adopting climate-smart agricultural practices, empowering women, donating food through food banks and creating an efficient food distribution network. With consistent political will, the zero hunger goal of the United Nations is achievable.

Navjot Buttar
Photo: Flickr

food insecurity
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
Photo: Flickr

top 10 hunger quotes

Globally, around 795 million people lack access to adequate food resources. This equates to approximately one in nine hungry humans who do not have enough to eat. As these quotes about hunger will illustrate, hunger and malnutrition are self-perpetuating issues that affect a person’s mental ability, health, work and productivity. They constitute the world’s greatest public health risk, more pressing than AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

The good news is that hunger is preventable; the earth produces more than enough food to provide for all of its citizens. The problem lies in food access and apathy from developed nations. Solving world hunger involves investing in smallholder family farmers, healthcare, financial services and increasing women’s access to resources. The following are 10 of the greatest, most thought-provoking quotes about hunger that bring various perspectives to this complex issue.

  1. “If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger.” –Buzz Aldrin
  2. “It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.” –Simone Weil
  3. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  4. “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” –Mahatma Gandhi
  5. “We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” –Jimmy Carter
  6. “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.” –John F. Kennedy
  7. “Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank
  8. “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” –Mother Teresa
  9. “It is important for people to realize that we can make progress against world hunger, that world hunger is not hopeless. The worst enemy is apathy.” –Reverend David Beckmann
  10. “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.” –Pope Francis

For anyone moved by these quotes about hunger, there are many ways for individuals to get involved. Advocacy is essential, and contacting representatives is an easy and effective means of citizen involvement. Supporting hunger initiatives and awareness over social media is another simple option. On a local level, communities can provide meals for the hungry among them.

In the last 26 years, the number of hungry people worldwide has fallen by 216 million. With enough public determination, this amount will continue to drop until no one in the world goes to bed hungry.

– Anna Parker

Photo: Flickr