Around the world, 815 million people regularly go to bed hungry, according to a report from the United Nations food agencies. The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World 2017 — released by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development — reports that despite overall improvements in food security, some areas of the world are lagging behind in providing adequate nutrition for healthy development.
Here’s what you should know about global hunger and nutrition:
1. 1 in 10 people around the world experience chronic hunger.
Globally, about 11% of the world’s population — 815 million people — could not get enough food for a healthy life in 2016. Hunger appears to be on the rise again, after multiple years of decline. But there were still fewer people going hungry in 2016 than the 900 million chronically hungry in 2000.
2. There’s still a chance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal for hunger.
The hunger SDG calls for ending hunger in the world by 2030. The starting point was measured at 15% of the population from 2000 to 2002. To meet the goal, donor nations and developing countries must provide more food aid to hungry people and invest more to build capacity for agricultural productivity, especially in Asia and Africa.
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 — nearly 1 in 4 people are estimated to be hungry. The most progress has been made in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Progress has been slower in western and southern Asia.
4. Poverty reduction efforts have paid off in achieving better access to food in developing countries.
Extreme poverty rates fell from 35% in 1990 to 10.7% in 2013. 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 40% of children under age 5 are underweight, which typically means they are undernourished. 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.
Contributor: Chris Huber, World Vision staff