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Malnutrition in India
India is one of the fastest growing economies in 2017, yet it has the highest number of children suffering from malnutrition, according to World Bank data. Forty-four percent of the children below the age of five are underweight, 72 percent of the infants have anemia and 194.6 million people are undernourished.

A quarter of undernourished people in the world live in India. India’s dependence on carbohydrates with low protein in their diet is the main cause of malnutrition, according to Nobel Prize winner for economics Angus Deaton. Poor sanitation has triggered infection-borne deficiencies in nutrients.

According to United Nation estimates, 2.1 million children die in India every year before reaching the age of five and four die every minute. One thousand children die every day because of diarrhea. Forty-eight million children under the age of five are stunted. According to a study, malnutrition in India could cost the economy $46 billion by 2030. Five states and 50 percent of the villages account for 80 percent of the malnutrition.

Reasons for this challenge stem from a lack of an institutional framework to address malnutrition, a lack of monitoring and accountability in publicly funded nutrition programs and a lack of convergence among multiple governments on an approach to address this issue.

Overcoming malnutrition in India would require a multifaceted approach including education for girls, availability of safe drinking water and vaccinations and public interventions focusing on socioeconomic development. More research is required in this area to tackle this challenge.

Political commitment is essential for a well-planned and long-term project that can enhance development. Nutritional planning focused on improving production and distribution of food is needed to reach the grassroots of the society. Making food available through public distribution systems and increasing the purchasing power of people in low-income countries is crucial. Nutrition education and early detection of malnutrition are factors which can empower society against this challenge.

Although India has taken many programs including improving salt iodization, improving breastfeeding and improving large-scale food fortification, the country needs to make fighting malnutrition a national priority to overcome this tremendous challenge.

Aishwarya Bansal

Photo: Flickr

20 facts about hunger
Hunger is an issue affecting all nations. Nearly 43 million Americans faced food insecurity in 2015, and feeding the American homeless, poverty-plagued families and undernourished children are matters the U.S. government takes seriously. The following 20 facts about hunger shine a specific light on the plight of the most malnourished nations. From these 20 facts about hunger, it is clear that people all over the world are afflicted by the issue of hunger.

  1. Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. In 2012, the World Bank estimated that there were 896 million people in developing countries living at or below $1.90 a day.
  2. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. The world produced 2,790 kilocalories per person per day between 2006 and 2008.
  3. Malnutrition can lead to growth failure. Principal types of growth failure are ‘stunting’ and ‘wasting.’ Stunting is a slow process caused by a lack of nutrients and wasting is caused by insufficient protein.
  4. Around 794 million people were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 — 10.9 percent of the global population.
  5. In Angola, an African country with the highest under-five mortality rate in the world, more than 15 percent of the population is underweight and nearly 30 percent suffer from stunting.
  6. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 161 million children worldwide are affected by stunting. Suffering from nutrient-poor diets or ongoing infections, stunted children may have normal body proportions but look younger than they actually are.
  7. Iodine deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to severe mental retardation or stillbirth. Though iodized salt is common in the developed world, more than 50 countries report a serious iodine deficiency problem.
  8. With more than 30 percent of people underweight, Pakistan ranked last on the 2012 Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index for its public spending on agriculture as a share of total public spending.
  9. More than 232 million people living in Africa were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 — 20 percent of the African population.
  10. In 2013, Myanmar ranked last on the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index for access to agricultural research and extension services.
  11. Undernourished children are more likely to underperform in school and on tests of intelligence and reading.
  12. Malnutrition during pregnancy increases the risk of mental illness. Studies investigating famines reported increases in the rate of schizophrenia during periods of prolonged prenatal exposure to hunger, or “nutritional inadequacy.”
  13. The World Food Programme calculated that it would cost $3.2 billion annually to feed the 66 million hungry school-age kids around the world.
  14. There are many scientific theories of why humans get hungry. Some of them are the stomach contraction theory, the glucose theory, the insulin theory, the fatty acid theory, and the heat-production theory.
  15. Almost 780 million people living in developing regions were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 –12.9 percent of the developing nations population.
  16. Over the course of two decades, the amount of undernourished Latin Americans has shrunk by more than 30 million.
  17. The availability of water is crucial to farming and food production. Climate change may affect crops and hundreds of millions of “water-stressed” people in the coming decade.
  18. The World Food Programme calculated that it costs $0.25 daily to give a child the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy growth.
  19. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries defines hunger as “the state of not having enough food to eat, especially when this causes illness or death.”
  20. In 2011, undernutrition was estimated to be the cause of more than three million child deaths — 45 percent of all child deaths.

These 20 facts about hunger only highlight the issue on a universal level, but they can act as a guide unveiling the true lives of those who live in poverty stricken conditions on a daily basis. Knowledge can prevent many in the position to help alleviate the problem to act. With combined knowledge and aid, terminating world hunger remains hopeful.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr


The Republic of Cameroon, located in Central Africa, is one of the youngest and hungriest countries in the world. At just over 50 years old, Cameroon ranked 153 out of 188 on the 2015 Human Development Index and 68 out of 104 on the 2015 Global Hunger Index. Forty percent of the country’s nearly 24 million people live below the poverty line and 2.6 million are food insecure.

Over the past decade, more and more organizations have worked to reduce hunger in Cameroon. The Agricultural Competitiveness Project, launched in 2010, is one of these assistance programs. The organization’s goal is to boost Cameroon’s agriculture production by developing rural infrastructure facilities and investing in value chains for maize, rice and meat.

By June 2016, the Agricultural Competitiveness Project had raised rice crop yields by 16 percent, maize yields by 98 percent and plantain yields by 220 percent, in targeted areas. The production of meat for consumption had significant increases as well – annual pig live weight had a 122 percent increase, poultry live weight increased by 257 percent and average annual egg production showed a 141 percent increase.

Since 1974, Heifer International has also been working in Cameroon along with the Ministry of Livestock and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to help as much of the poor population as possible. Heifer has primarily focused on job creation in the dairy industry but has recently expanded to include other livestock species in its projects (which are located in six of Cameroon’s 10 regions).

Despite the influx of foreign aid and a public investment program by the government of Cameroon, financial stability is in question due to growing debt and low levels of private sector lead growth. The country has not seen the levels of progression that are necessary to sustain its people. From 2001 to 2014, poverty levels fell from 40.2 to 37.5 percent. Cameroon has been able to meet only one of the Millennium Development Goals, which was focused on primary school enrollment. Despite reduction efforts, hunger in Cameroon is still an issue that warrants direct attention. The programs set forth have shown obvious positive results in most cases, but progress in Cameroon should continue to grow with additional future endeavors.

Dustin Jayroe

Photo: Flickr


Recent growth and investment in agriculture in Eastern Asia and Latin America have put the regions on the path toward eliminating hunger. On the other hand, climate change, conflict and poverty have prevented more than 50 countries from reaching international food availability goals. This list of the top 10 hunger stats references in-depth studies and highlights global trends. Additionally, the list offers perspective into the effects of hunger on impoverished communities. Ahead are the top 10 hunger stats.

  1. Between 2014 and 2016, 794.6 million people faced undernourishment around the globe. This is equivalent to 10.9 percent of the global population.
  2. Of those undernourished between 2014 and 2016, 779.9 million lived in developing regions. This number is equivalent to 12.9 percent of the population of developing areas.
  3. In Africa alone, 232.5 million people were undernourished between 2014 and 2016. This represents 20 percent of the African population.
  4. Undernourishment in Eastern Asia has fallen by nearly 50 percent in the last two decades, from 295 million undernourished between 1990-1992 to 145 million undernourished between 2014-16.
  5. In 2011, undernutrition was estimated to be the cause of 3.1 million child deaths — 45 percent of all child deaths.
  6. In 2013, 51 million children under the age of five suffered from wasting, or a decrease in fat and muscle tissue, with 17 million of those affected severely. Two-thirds of those children lived in Asia and almost one-third lived in Africa.
  7. In developing countries, close to 40 percent of preschool children are estimated to be anemic, or iron-deficient.
  8. An estimated 250 million preschool children across the globe do not have adequate levels of Vitamin A. Of those 250 million children, between 250,000 and 500,000 go blind each year. Additionally, half of that number die within 12 months of onset.
  9. Conflict increases hunger. In 2012, the estimated number of conflict-affected residents represented 21 percent of the estimated 805 million undernourished people in that year.
  10. In 2013, there were a dozen countries with a rate of under-five mortality at 10 percent or higher. They are all on the continent of Africa.  The country of Angola is the only country in the world with an under-five mortality rate greater than 15 percent.

Hunger begets hunger. Many times malnutrition and undernourishment leads to low weight and poor human growth and development. These symptoms cause future health and financial problems. These top 10 hunger stats represent that while the numbers of hunger are improving, past deficiencies have stunted growth for many nations.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr

world hunger facts
While progress has been made in the effort to end world hunger, one in nine people around the world still go to bed hungry. Here are 20 world hunger facts:

Top World Hunger Facts

  1. Roughly 795 million people, or one in nine, of the 7.3 billion people in the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment.
  2. Of the 795 million suffering from hunger, 780 million live in developing countries. That is 12.9 percent of developing countries’ population.
  3. World hunger is dropping. The number of undernourished people in developing countries was reduced by 42 percent between 1990 and 2014.
  4. Hunger is most prevalent in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Two out of three of the world’s undernourished people live in Asia. In addition, one in four people in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished.
  5. There are two types of malnutrition. The first is protein-energy malnutrition, which is a lack of calories and protein. The second is micronutrient deficiency, which is a shortage of vitamins and minerals. While both are important, protein-energy malnutrition is the focus of world hunger discussions.
  6. Every year, hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
  7. Sixty percent of the world’s hungry people are women.
  8. Hunger affects women’s pregnancies. Each year, around 17 million children are born undernourished because their mother was undernourished while pregnant.
  9. Every 10 seconds a child dies due to a hunger-related disease.
  10. World hunger is caused by inequality and poverty, not a shortage of food. The world already produces enough food to feed roughly 10 billion people.
  11. Food waste contributes to global hunger. One-third of the food produced each year is wasted, which costs the global economy close to $750 billion annually.
  12. In developing countries, approximately 896 million people live on $1.90 a day or less.
  13. Food aid, not including emergency relief, is often more damaging in the end. This is because free or subsidized food shipped from the U.S. and Europe and sold below market prices hurt local farmers who cannot compete.
  14. Approximately 66 million primary school-age children in the developing world attend classes hungry. This has a negative impact on their futures, as hungry children spend fewer years in school and cannot concentrate.
  15. The U.N.’s World Food Programme works to end world hunger by providing free meals and snacks in schools around the world. In 2015, the program provided 17.4 million children with meals or snacks. This not only helps to feed children around the world but is also an incentive for parents to send them to school.
  16. People involved in agriculture are especially susceptible to hunger. Fifty percent of hungry people in the world are farming families.
  17. Gender equality is a vital part of efforts to end world hunger. Around half of the world’s farmers are women, but they do not have access to the same tools, such as training and land rights, as men. If men and women had the same resources, female farmers could increase their productivity to help reduce world hunger for approximately 1.5 million people.
  18. One possibility for reducing world hunger is sustainable agriculture, which aims to preserve the Earth’s natural resources, through things like crop waste recycling and more precise fertilizer use.
  19. Microfinance also has the potential to end world hunger. These programs help to reduce poverty and improve gender equality through providing poor people, particularly women, with credit to develop small businesses.
  20. The U.N. estimated that it would take roughly $30 billion a year to end world hunger.

Undernourishment remains a pressing issue in both developing and developed countries; however, new research and technology reveal promising solutions to help end world hunger.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr


Southern Africa is currently undergoing a severe drought, induced by a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean commonly referred to as El Nino. In addition to Southern Africa, several other countries in the region are also experiencing increased food insecurity. In mid-2016, the World Food Programme (WFP) categorized the Southern Africa region as a Level Three Corporate Response – the highest level of emergency. Currently, about 16 million people in the region need emergency humanitarian assistance. Swaziland is one of the countries of concern in the region, especially since it already faces numerous challenges including poverty, chronic food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and an erratic climate.

Poverty and Hunger in Swaziland

Swaziland is a small landlocked nation, bordered by South Africa and Mozambique, and has a population of 1.2 million. It is a predominantly rural society, with most of the population dependent on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. Maize is the main crop, grown by over 80 percent of farming households.

Poverty is prevalent in Swaziland, with 42 percent of the population living below the income poverty line of $1.90 a day. This is an especially troubling figure in times of food shortages because the poor cannot afford to buy food. Swaziland is a net importer of food and is vulnerable to food price increases in the rest of the region.

As a result, the poor have had to adopt coping strategies like limiting portions, reducing meals, borrowing food and limiting the types of food they eat. Chronic malnutrition is one of the greatest nutritional concerns and presents a major developmental challenge in Swaziland. One in every four children in Swaziland suffers from stunted growth as a result of malnutrition.

HIV/AIDS

Swaziland has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, with 26 percent of adults infected. The health of people living with HIV is particularly concerning. The disease disproportionately affects main income earners and caregivers. These households are more vulnerable to drops in food production or rising food prices because their income and productivity levels are already lower due to HIV.

Erratic Climate

Swaziland regularly experiences erratic rainfall, recurrent droughts and soil degradation, all of which adversely impact food security. Since 2014, the cropping seasons in Swaziland have been characterized by prolonged dry spells that result in widespread crop losses and reduced yields. The last few years have seen some of the worst maize production on record. The WFP estimates that nearly half the population will face some food insecurity in 2017, while 350,000 people will need urgent food assistance.

These interrelated challenges all contribute to high levels of hunger in Swaziland.

Helena Kamper

Photo: Flickr


Rwanda is one of the smallest countries on the African continent. The country is known for many achievements such as being one of the only nations to have a majority of females in the national parliament and making solid progress in reducing political corruption. Despite these milestones, the country also faces rampant hunger. Most of the population of Rwanda lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for food. Here are five facts about hunger in Rwanda:

Top Facts about Poverty in Rwanda

  1. Low crop yield is not the only factor contributing to hunger in Rwanda. Lack of access to safe drinking water also leads to malnutrition. To help remedy this problem, the Japanese government donated more than $147,000 to two Rwandan anti-hunger organizations to be used to improve water sources in Rwanda.
  2. Rwanda, along with countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar, has made the most progress in alleviating hunger between the years 2000 and 2016. The Global Hunger Index estimates that hunger in Rwanda dropped from 58 percent to 27 percent during those years.
  3. Although hunger in Rwanda has been steadily decreasing, there is still plenty of work to be done. In 2015, the World Food Programme estimated that up to 40 percent of Rwandan children still do not receive the proper nutritional care they need to become successful later in life.
  4. Violent political conflicts in eastern Congo drive many Congolese people to take refuge within the borders of Rwanda, but often these refugees also face hunger in their new homes. In 2016, Congolese refugees in Rwanda complained that U.N. rations made them sick and many starved with few other choices in terms of food.
  5. Another factor that contributed to the presence of hunger in Rwanda was the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The violent conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi people of Rwanda interrupted many farmers’ planting and harvesting routines, causing thousands of people to go hungry.

Mary Grace Costa

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Ecuador
Since 2000, the economy in Ecuador has turned around drastically. After its financial crisis in the early ’90s, poverty rates skyrocketed, and hunger in Ecuador multiplied. Foreign and domestic assistance programs, coupled with sound government actions have helped create a more stable environment. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of Ecuadorians going without.

More citizens in poverty than not

In the late ’90s, a failure of Ecuador’s largest banks resulted in one of the worst economic crises in its history. By 2000,  64.4 percent of its citizens were living below the poverty line. The Ecuadorian government stepped in and took out a loan from China to help stop the bleeding, and focused on bringing the 10 percent of the Ecuadorian population who emigrated after the crisis back with a “Welcome Home” plan. This aided those who returned to Ecuador to start businesses, which in turn helped unemployment and poverty levels. At the close of 2015, those living below the poverty line in Ecuador had fallen to 23.3 percent – still nearly a quarter of the population.

Despite the declining poverty levels, hunger in Ecuador is still a major concern, and 64 percent of people in Ecuador seeking refuge do not have sufficient access to food. In addition to this, 23.9 percent of children under the age of five are affected by chronic malnutrition or inadequate nutrition over long periods of time. Malnutrition in children leads to stunted growth, and a “wasted” or extremely thin, underweight body. Even Ecuadorian citizens who have consistent access to food are at risk of these concerns. This overlap is caused by a lack of proper nutrition awareness and a limited access to nutritious food. Ecuador is prone to natural disasters (the most recent – a devastating earthquake in 2016 which resulted in three percent of the GDP spent on reconstruction), soil and environmental deterioration, and climate change all have a negative impact on agriculture in Ecuador, and make the sustainability of food systems troublesome.

How to help

Those who are most vulnerable must be helped first, as they are encountering serious health risks every single day. The poverty line in rural areas is at 38 percent, almost double the national average. These people need access to nutritional food immediately. New mothers of Ecuador in these troubled areas need to be given information and assistance on what their children need in their early years to prevent this chronic malnourishment. Then, the government can be given support, advisement, and the resources necessary to ensure that hunger in Ecuador is no longer an issue in the future.

Dustin Jayroe

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Micronesia
Poverty in Micronesia? The lush beauty of the tropical island group known as Micronesia implies a paradise of plenty, yet the Federated States of Micronesia remains a nation burdened by poverty. Here are five facts about poverty in Micronesia:

  1. Nearly one in five people live on less than $2 a day. Though the Federated States of Micronesia is comprised of an impressive 607 separate islands across its four major states of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, the population totals approximately 100,000. As of 2013, over 17 percent of the population lived on just $1.90 a day, well below the poverty line.
  2. Malnutrition is a major contributing factor. A lack of variety in available foods results in hunger, especially among children, and impedes the opportunity for citizens to rise above poverty in Micronesia. Many families rely on a local diet full of processed meats, canned fish, and carbohydrate-heavy produce such as breadfruit and yams, resulting in malnutrition. According to the World Health Organization, more than 20 percent of pregnant women are anemic in the broader Pacific Island region where Micronesia lies. Sadly, 29 of every 1,000 babies born in Micronesia currently do not survive past their first year.
  3. The global definition of poverty may not apply. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielagaoi went on public record in September 2016 criticizing the United Nations’ current formula to measure poverty across the globe. This criticism stems from his consideration of the practical realities of life in the Pacific, in which it is common for young adults to have many children. He went so far as to say the existing figure of poverty, which is defined by an individual earning less than $400 per week, was “very stupid.” In response, the Pacific Island Forum Leaders Group has appointed a dedicated committee to create a more appropriate replacement.
  4. A manufactured scarcity of resources is a leading cause. A drought in early 2016 caused the Asian Development Bank to lower the GDP projection for the Federated States of Micronesia to a mere 2 percent. Meanwhile, a broader problem of persistent societal disruption contributes to this slowing of growth. Initially examined in a 2004 study known as the Jenrok Report, life in the Pacific was described as a myriad of deficiencies. Overcrowding, contamination in ground wells and a lack of many home connections to a central water system cause sickness and contributed to poverty. Yet the Pacific governments consistently fail to spend all funds provided by other countries in foreign aid. This false scarcity shows that substantial improvement must be done at the administrative and infrastructural levels to provide for the people of Micronesia.
  5. Work is being done to improve it. The Salvation Army has worked tirelessly for more than two decades in the states of Pohnpei and Chuuk to reduce poverty, providing direct aid by supplying food and establishing social and spiritual development services. Another nonprofit organization, the USEAO, is headquartered in Seattle and was founded in 2013. They are similarly dedicated to improving the lives of citizens in Micronesia by contributing direct aid and concentrating on solving the problem of infant malnutrition.

Thanks in part to the efforts of organizations such as the Salvation Army and the USEAO, poverty-relief in Micronesia is improving. The Asian Development Bank GDP projection for the coming year is higher than 2016, and efforts to increase tourism in the Federated States of Micronesia show promise for a future where poverty is a thing of the past.

Dan Krajewski

Photo: Flickr


At least 1.3 million Ugandans face hunger following drought conditions and subsequent poor crop yields, according to a 2016 email statement from Christopher Kibazanga, Ugandan minister of state for agriculture. Among the harder hit were the citizens of the northeastern Karamoja region, with 65 percent of people having access to only half a meal or less per day.

Multiple nonprofits, however, have focused on eliminating Uganda food insecurity for decades and are still seeking long-term solutions to this crisis. Here are three nonprofit initiatives that are contributing to the fight against hunger in Uganda.

Hunger Project
Hunger Project has been working in Uganda since 1999, and utilizes an aid distribution method they refer to as an “epicenter strategy.” This method involves establishing community-built and community–facilitated mobilization centers that bring together multiple villages to share resources and address issues that affect all communities involved.

Over an eight-year timeframe, an epicenter addresses hunger and poverty while allowing communities to become sustainable and self-reliant, with the goal of being able to fund programs and activities without investor involvement.

Hunger Project has established 11 epicenters which serve 494 villages in total, reaching 287,807 people in all.

The World Food Programme
World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Ugandan government, partners in the United Nations and nongovernment organizations to turn emergency responses to food insecurity into longer-term investments that seek to solve the root of the problems.

WFP supports approximately 70 percent of refugees in Uganda through monthly rations, cooked meals at transit centers and nutrition support for pregnant and nursing women and children aged between six months and five years.

This nonprofit program also organizes the distribution of 284 school meals to students in Karamoja. The meals include locally produced cereals, in hopes of facilitating local commerce.

Feed the Children
Since 2012, Feed the Children provided health education to communities in northern Uganda. These services include school health programs that provide meals and vitamin supplements, as well teach teens about making good food choices, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

As of 2015, 274 children in early learning centers received meals through their schools, 118 children received vitamin A supplements and 302 children received deworming medicine.

Feed the Children also promotes community malnutrition detection education to increase the number of children that can access quality and timely treatment. This initiative advocates family health planning as a realistic and sustainable method to minimize hunger in Uganda.

Casie Wilson

Photo: Flickr