Social Responsibility

Make a difference, be different
We need more and more prevalent it takes its greatest toll in the form of child hunger – ravaging younger generations with a domino effect that threatens physical health, mental health, behavior, and education. But waging the war on child hunger costs only pennies a day. Give every child the sustenance to excel and the energy to just be a kid. Be a part of the solution. In the United States, 1 out of 6 children lives in a food insecure household, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal, are unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life, and are at risk of going hungry.

We must realize it is crucial to address the hunger issue because its effects are so devastating to the development of a healthy child during critical periods of growth. Nutrition is a critical component to a healthy life. Hunger negatively impacts school performance and academic achievement, and overall behavioral and cognitive development. And hunger puts kids at risk for illness and weakens their immune system. (Children who are food insecure are 90% more likely to be in fair or poor health and have 30% higher rates of hospitalization.) It is a rapidly growing issue with the demand at food banks across the U.S. up as much as 30% since just last year.

World Hunger

925 million hungrey people in the world (est. 2010)

No one really knows how many people are malnourished. The statistic most frequently cited is that of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which measures 'undernutrition'. The FAO did not publish an estimate in its most recent publication, 'The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011' as it is undertaking a major revision of how it estimates food insecurity (FAO 2011 p. 10). The 2010 estimate, the most recent, says that 925 million people were undernourished in 2010 (FAO 2010). As the figure below shows, the number of hungry people has increased since 1995-97. The increase has been due to three factors: 1) neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies; 2) the current worldwide economic crisis, and 3) the significant increase of food prices in the last several years which has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day to spend. 925 million people is 13.6 percent of the estimated world population of 6.8 billion. Nearly all of the undernourished are in developing countries.

In round numbers there are 7 billion people in the world. Thus, with an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world, 13.1 percent, or almost 1 in 7 people are hungry.

Save the Children

Creating lasting change for children in need worldwide

The FAO estimate is based on statistical aggregates. The FAO first estimates the total food supply of a country and derives the average per capita daily food intake from that. The distribution of average food intake for people in the country is then estimated from surveys measuring food expenditure. Using this information, and minimum food energy requirements, FAO estimates how many people are likely to receive such a low level of food intake that they are undernourished.3

Undernutrition is a relatively new concept, but is increasingly used. It should be taken as similar to malnutrition. (It should be said as an aside, that the idea of undernourishment, its relationship to malnutrition, and the reasons for its emergence as a concept is not clear to Hunger Notes.)

Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year--five million deaths. Undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria. The estimated proportions of deaths in which undernutrition is an underlying cause are roughly similar for diarrhea (61%), malaria (57%), pneumonia (52%), and measles (45%) (Black 2003, Bryce 2005). Malnutrition can also be caused by diseases, such as the diseases that cause diarrhea, by reducing the body's ability to convert food into usable nutrients.

According to the most recent estimate that Hunger Notes could find, malnutrition, as measured by stunting, affects 32.5 percent of children in developing countries--one of three (de Onis 2000). Geographically, more than 70 percent of malnourished children live in Asia, 26 percent in Africa and 4 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean. In many cases, their plight began even before birth with a malnourished mother. Under-nutrition among pregnant women in developing countries leads to 1 out of 6 infants born with low birth weight. This is not only a risk factor for neonatal deaths, but also causes learning disabilities, mental, retardation, poor health, blindness and premature death.