World Hunger – basic information.
The scale of World Hunger can only be measured, after defining the term – hunger. It has three main meanings:
- Strong, painful feeling, caused by lack of food; feeling of weakness related to desire to eat,
- Lack of food in specific area,
- Acute and severe need for food.
World Hunger is strongly connected to the second meaning.
There are two types of malnutrition. Protein – energy malnutrition is caused by lack of proteins and calories. Proteins are essential in maintaining adequate level of amino acids in a body, as well as providing healthy development of muscular system. At the same time, calories are needed to power our bodies with energy. Deficiency of both can result in illness and death.
The second type of malnutrition is micronutrients deficiency disease. It occurs when a body does not receive enough vitamins and minerals, mainly vitamin A. This type is not as closely related to World Hunger as protein – energy malnutrition.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization's recent data, 795 million people around the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. This number had dropped by 167 million over the past decade. Despite that fact, hunger is still more fatal than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria all together. And it is mostly developing countries that are exposed to this problem. 780 million out of 795 million people suffering from hunger live in those countries. Region afflicted the most is Sub-Saharan Africa, where 23.2% of population is undernourished. Out there, protein – energy malnutrition is a cause of 45% deaths in children under 5 years old. It is 3.1 million little ones a year. For a new born baby, first 1000 days of their life are the most important. Lack of certain microelements at this time, may result in highly abnormal development. When pregnant women does not eat enough, child’s organs and tissues might be damaged even before actual birth. In total, 600 000 babies are born dead every year. 1 in 6 of them is underweight.
What’s crucial to know, is that 60% of hungry people are women. Many of them faces this problem through their entire life. We have 66 million undernourished children in primary schools. 23 million of them live in Africa.
What countries are exposed to hunger the most?
- Asia – 525.6 million people
- Sub-Saharan Africa – 214 million people
- Latin America – 37 million people
70% of hungry people live in agricultural areas and 50% of them are families that work on a farm.
The next problem is a lack of access to clean water (663 million people) and sanitation (2.4 million people). It results in 1000 deaths a day. In developing countries people not only die, because of pure hunger, but also because of the illnesses related to it, such as diarrhea, malaria and measles.
Progress in World Hunger reduction.
During last 20 years, we could notice an improvement in fight against World Hunger. According to FAO, there has been 42% decrease in number of chronically undernourished people. The biggest change has happened in Latin America. ONZ and non-profit organisations have had a large input in this success. Despite it, 13.5% of our population still suffers.