The United States’ foreign aid budget amounts to less than 1% of the total federal budget. And of that, little is spent on improving nutrition globally. Thus the percentage of the U.S. budget earmarked for combating world hunger is a fraction of a fraction of a percent of annual spending.

May 28th was World Hunger Day. A day set aside to raise awareness to the inequality in global food supply. Currently, enough food is being produced to feed the entire population of the planet. And yet one in eight people live their lives undernourished. 2.5 million children die every year due to inadequate nutrition, a number that accounts for one third of preventable childhood deaths. One in four children suffer life-long effects, be it physical or cognitive damage due to malnourishment.

The impact of all other aid provided could be increased by focusing first on malnutrition. Reducing childhood mortality, and providing people with the means to stay healthy leads to a stronger and more able workforce. Research proves that investments in the health and nutrition of children during the first few years of their lives increase national productivity. Despite these benefits, malnutrition persists in part due to lack of funding.

The G8 summit is approaching, and in the week preceding it there will be a pledging conference on global nutrition in London. This event will be a chance for world leaders to address concerns on world hunger and at the same time step up and pledge to do something about it.

There are a lot of issues to address globally when dealing with hunger and poverty, but what really needs to happen is an increase in aid aimed at those first few formative years of a child’s life. Focusing on the health and nutrition of children will have a ripple effect improving conditions in the rest of society.

– David Wilson

Source: Policy Mic
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