There are 795 million undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nine people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The good news is that hunger is entirely solvable. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone and no scientific breakthroughs are needed. Today’s knowledge, tools and policies, combined with political will, can solve the problem.
Solving hunger is a “best buy” in today’s tough economy. When nations work together to solve hunger and invest in good nutrition, they increase productivity and create economic opportunities. Conversely, studies have shown that countries lose millions of dollars in economic output as a result of child undernutrition. Solving hunger is also a contribution to peace and stability. When governments can no longer guarantee adequate food supplies, states are prone to fall. Volatility on food markets can quickly translate into volatility on the streets.
Finally, solving hunger lays the foundation for progress in many other areas of development, including health and education. Well-nourished women have healthier, heavier babies whose immune systems are stronger for life. A healthy, well-fed child is also more likely to attend school.
Good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the 1990s, but progress began to level off between 2000 and 2010. All of us – citizens, employers, corporate leaders and governments – must work together to end hunger.