This weekend many churches will observe Global Hunger Sunday, and next week (October 16) is World Food Day, a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year‐around action to alleviate hunger. Here are five facts you should know about one of the world’s most persistent, but solvable, global problems.
1. Around the world, 842 million people do not have enough of the food they need to live an active, healthy life. 98 percent of the world’s hungry live in developing countries. The highest number of malnourished people, 553 million, live in Asia and the Pacific. The second highest number, 227 million, live in sub-Saharan Africa. Another 47 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
2. Malnutrition affects nearly every country. Only two countries have levels of under-five stunting, anemia in women of reproductive age, and adult overweight all below public health thresholds.
3. 45 percent of deaths for children under the age of five are attributable to undernutrition. “Nutritional deficiencies” are responsible for over 50 percent of years lived with disability in children age four and under. Underweight is the number-one contributor to the burden of disease in Africa south of the Sahara and number four in South Asia
4. Since 1990-92, 63 countries have reached the United Nations’ hungertarget goal of halving the proportion of undernourished people, and 25 countries have achieved the goal of halving the number of undernourished people. Of the 63 developing countries, 11 already had undernourishment levels below 5 percent.
5. Since the early 1990s, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen from 18.7 to 11.3 percent globally and from 23.4 to 13.5 percent for developing countries. There has likely never been a time in modern human history when such a large percentage of the population has been freed from chronic hunger.