Five facts about global hunger

By Boaz Wadel

Around the world, an estimated 842 million people regularly go to bed hungry, says a new report from the United Nations food agencies.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013External Link states that despite overall improvements in food security, some areas of the world are lagging behind in providing adequate nutrition for healthy development.

Acording to the report, the 10 countries with the highest proportion of hungry people are:

  1. Burundi - 67.3%
  2. Eritrea - 61.3%
  3. Haiti - 49.8%
  4. Zambia - 43.1%
  5. Ethiopia - 37.1%
  6. Swaziland - 35.8%
  7. Democratic Republic of the Congo - 33%
  8. Tanzania - 33%
  9. Zimbabwe - 30.5%
  10. Guatemala - 30.5%

World Vision works to alleviate poverty in all of these countries, except Eritrea.

Global hunger is a complex challenge. Here are some important facts about global hunger and nutrition:

1. One out of eight people is chronically hungry.

Globally, 12 percent of the world's population - 842 million people - could not get enough food for a healthy life from 2011 to 2013. About 827 million of the hungry live in developing countries.

2. There's still a chance to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for hunger.

The hunger MDG calls for halving the proportion of hungry people in the world by 2015.

The starting point was measured at 24 percent of the population from 1990 to 1992. At the present rate of improvement, the prevalence of hunger in developing countries would reach 13 percent by the deadline, down from 14.3 percent today.

To meet the goal, donor nations and developing countries must provide more food aid to hungry people and improve livelihoods, especially for those who feed their families through small-scale agriculture. 

3. Some regions have a higher proportion of malnourished people than others.

Sub-Saharan Africa is still the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment - one in four people are estimated to be hungry.

The most progress has been made in Asia. Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam have made great strides, while progress has been slower in southern Asia.

4. Poverty reduction efforts have paid off in better access to food in developing countries.

Poverty rates in developing countries fell from 47 percent in 1990 to 24 percent in 2008. However, having the economic means to access food is also affected by food prices and people's purchasing power, which have both varied widely in recent years.

World Vision's programs that assist families with agriculture and microfinance for business development have the added benefit of improving food security.

5. National economic growth doesn't necessarily mean better nourishment for all.

In India, for example, where the economy has experienced high growth in the last decade, the most recent data shows nearly half of children under age 5 are underweight.  In many other countries, the income gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" has widened.

Development programs that lift up the poor to be healthier, better educated, and able to provide a stable income are vital to family food security. So are community-based courses in which mothers learn to feed children the proper food to grow up healthy and strong.

Two ways you can respond

Thank God for the progress made toward reducing global hunger. Pray for the politicial will to continue making strides toward a world where all children and familes are well nourished and have access to the food they need.

Make a one-time donation to help deliver life-saving food and care to children and families suffering from hunger. Your gift will help provide interventions like emergency food aid, nutritional training, agricultural support, clean water, and more in places where the need is great.

Or, give monthly to reach even more children, families, and communities with critical assistance in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

© 2013 World Vision 


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