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Global Trends in Chronic Hunger

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Although the proportion of people experiencing chronic hunger is decreasing globally, one in nine individuals still does not get enough to eat, writes Gaelle Gourmelon, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org), in the latest Vital Signs Online article. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 805 million people were living with undernourishment (chronic hunger) in 2012–14, down 209 million since 1990–92.

Undernourishment is defined as an inability to take in enough calories over at least one year to meet dietary energy requirements. It can lead to undernutrition, a broader term that describes a condition caused by a deficient or imbalanced diet or by poor absorption and biological use of nutrients within the body. Undernutrition can in turn lead to impaired physical functions and has high social and economic impacts. The combined cost of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies is equivalent to US$1.4–2.1 trillion per year, or 2–3 percent of gross world product.

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Global Trends in Chronic Hunger

  1. 1. Vital Signs Global Trends in Chronic Hunger
  2. 2. Although the proportion of people experiencing chronic hunger is decreasing TEXT HERE globally, 1 in 9 individuals still don't get enough to eat U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The State of Food and Agriculture (Rome: 2013).
  3. 3. Undernourishment is defined as an inability to take in enough calories over at least 1 year to meet dietary energy TEXT HERE requirements 802 million living with undernourishment in 2012-2014, down more than 100 million over the last decade U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The State of Food and Agriculture (Rome: 2013).
  4. 4. This leads to undernutrition; a condition caused by a deficient or imbalanced diet, or by poor absorbtion and biological use of nutrients TEXT HERE within the body Accounts for $1.4-$2.1 trillion per year, or 2-3% of gross world product World Food Programme, "Hunger Glossary," at www.wfp.org/hunger/glossary. U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The State of Food and Agriculture (Rome: 2013).
  5. 5. The vast majority of undernourished people live in developing countries TEXT HERE Here, 791 million people, or 1 in 8, were chronically hungry in 2012-2014 FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Strengthening the Enabling Environment for Food Security and Nutrition (Rome: FAO, 2014).
  6. 6. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies due to biological and social TEXT HERE inequalities Globally, undernutrition contributes to more than 1/3 of child deaths UNICEF, Improving Child Nutrition: The Achievable Imperative for Global Progress (New York: 2013).
  7. 7. The Millennium Development Goal 1c (MDG-1c) aims to halve the proportion of the population in developing TEXT HERE countries who are hungry from the 1990 base year to the 2015 target year. This goal is within reach. FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Strengthening the Enabling Environment for Food Security and Nutrition (Rome: FAO, 2014).
  8. 8. Since 1990-92, the prevalence of 18.7% TEXT chronic hunger fell from to 11.3% in HERE 2012-2014, less than 2% above the MDG-1c target FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Strengthening the Enabling Environment for Food Security and Nutrition (Rome: FAO, 2014).
  9. 9. Latin America and the Caribbean have shown the greatest TEXT HERE reduction in undernourishment and have already reached the MDG-1c target FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Strengthening the Enabling Environment for Food Security and Nutrition (Rome: FAO, 2014).
  10. 10. The sub-Saharan region has by far the highest prevelance of chronic hunger of any region TEXT HERE 1 in 4 people here are chronically hungry FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Strengthening the Enabling Environment for Food Security and Nutrition (Rome: FAO, 2014).
  11. 11. Asia as a whole is close to reaching the MDG-1c target Yet because of their large population, 2 out of 3 undernourished people in the TEXT HERE world live in this region In west Asia the prevalence of chronic hunger actually increased due to political and economic instability FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP), The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Strengthening the Enabling Environment for Food Security and Nutrition (Rome: FAO, 2014).
  12. 12. Climate change increases breakdown TEXT food insecurity and the of food HERE systems. This disproportionately affects poorer populations. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  13. 13. World food prices have begun to come down since the all-time peak in August 2012, but they remain high, and poor TEXT HERE households still spend a significant portion of their incomes on food. FAO, FAO Statistical Yearbook 2014: Africa Food and Agriculture (Accra: 2014).
  14. 14. Full analysis, sources, and data available at: http://bit.ly/16073jA
  15. 15. about us WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE VITAL SIGNS ONLINE Through research and outreach that inspire action, the Worldwatch Institute works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs. www.worldwatch.org Vital Signs Online provides business leaders, policymakers, and engaged citizens with the latest data and analysis to understand critical global trends. vitalsigns.worldwatch.org

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