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.
- 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.
- The world produces enough food to feed everyone. The world produced 2,790 kilocalories per person per day between 2006 and 2008.
- 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.
- Around 794 million people were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 — 10.9 percent of the global population.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- More than 232 million people living in Africa were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 — 20 percent of the African population.
- In 2013, Myanmar ranked last on the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index for access to agricultural research and extension services.
- Undernourished children are more likely to underperform in school and on tests of intelligence and reading.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- Almost 780 million people living in developing regions were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 –12.9 percent of the developing nations population.
- Over the course of two decades, the amount of undernourished Latin Americans has shrunk by more than 30 million.
- 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.
- The World Food Programme calculated that it costs $0.25 daily to give a child the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy growth.
- Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries defines hunger as “the state of not having enough food to eat, especially when this causes illness or death.”
- 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