10 Things Everyone Should Know About Hunger

A group of girls in Haiti have their midday meal in a school partially destroyed by the earthquake in January 2010. Copyright:WFP/Rein Skullerud

How many hungry people are there in the world and where do most of them live? What effect does it have on their minds and bodies and what can we do to help them? Here is a list of 10 things about hunger that absolutely everyone should know.

1. Approximately 925 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That means that one in every seven people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night. (Source: FAO News Release, 2011)
 
2. Rising food prices pushed an additional 44 million people into hunger between June 2010 and February 2011 when they soared to their highest level ever. (Source: World Bank Food Price Watch, 2011)
 
3. While the number of hungry people has risen, as a percentage of the world population, hunger has actually fallen from 33 per cent of the population in 1969 to just over 15 per cent of the population in 2010. (Source: FAO, 2010)
 
4. Well over half of the world’s hungry people–some 578 million people–live in Asia and the Pacific region. Africa accounts for just over one quarter of the world’s hungry population. Source: (Source: FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2010)
 
5. Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. (Source: UNAIDS global report, 2010; WHO World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2011).
 
6.  A third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries are linked to undernutrition. (Source: UNICEF Report on Child Nutrition, 2006)
 
7. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy through age two, are the critical window in which to tackle undernutrition. A proper diet in this period can protect them from the mental and physical stunting that can result from malnutrition. (Source: UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, 2009) 
 
8.  It costs just US $0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy. (Source: WFP, 2011)
 
9. Malnourished mothers often give birth to underweight babies who are 20 per cent more likely to die before the age of five. Up to 17 million children are born underweight every year. (Source: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007)
 
10. By 2050, climate change and erratic weather patterns will have pushed another 24 million children into hunger. Almost half of these children will live in sub-Saharan Africa. (Source: Climate Change and Hunger: Responding to the Challenge, WFP, 2009)