One in seven people in the world today do not get enough food to be healthy, and most of these are women and children. Poor nutrition is the single biggest underlying cause of ill health and death among pregnant women and for children in their first two years of life, underlying one-third of preventable deaths of children under age 5.
Recent spikes in global food prices have been pushing millions of households further into hunger and extreme poverty, and deepening the struggle of the world’s poor — that’s 2.7 billion people who live on less than $2 a day.
When parents are weakened by hunger, their ability to work, grow crops, provide for their families, and stay healthy is diminished, making it harder to spur economic growth. Malnutrition is also passed on from hungry pregnant mothers to their children, and so on, in a harmful cycle.Back to top
Hunger and food insecurity have many contributing factors, including poverty, natural disasters, drought, war, lack of infrastructure, and exploitation of the environment.
For many poor households forced to spend more than half of their incomes to eat, the recent jumps in staple food prices are crippling their ability to access enough nutritious food while coping with other needs. This can lead to chronic malnutrition which affects every aspect of a child’s life.Back to top
Malnutrition is responsible for more than a third of the 7.6 million early-childhood deaths worldwide each year. About 55 million children under the age of 5 are acutely malnourished, while one in four children don’t get the nutrition they need.
Insufficient nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life (from conception through age 2) can result in stunting and poor cognitive development. Without adequate nutritious food, these children will not be able to reach their full potential, or be able to contribute fully to their local community’s future growth. Watch the video below to learn more about the impact of malnutrition on children.
The number of hungry people has dropped below 1 billion, to 925 million people in 2010. However, there is still much more work to be done.
There is an urgent need for implementing comprehensive strategies that address emergency needs, agricultural development, nutrition, food price volatility, and resilience to climate extremes.
Food assistance is a key tool in addressing world hunger. In conjunction with other programs, food assistance can lessen the impact of shortages and help break the cycle of extreme poverty.
Serving a wider role than just providing relief during emergencies, food assistance can also:
World Vision is responding to hunger across many countries and working to promote sustainable agricultural practices, while improving food storage and access to market in thousands of hard-hit communities. We also are monitoring the impact of high food prices on vulnerable households.
Neither World Vision nor the U.S. government can solve this problem alone, but by demonstrating leadership and working with others, the number-one Millennium Development Goal to cut hunger in half by 2015 can be achieved.Back to top