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Hunger

There are 842 million undernourished people in the world today. That means one in eight 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 the health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Among the key causes of hunger are natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure and over-exploitation of the environment.

As well as the obvious sort of hunger resulting from an empty stomach, there is also the hidden hunger of micronutrient deficiencies which make people susceptible to infectious diseases, impair physical and mental development, reduce their labour productivity and increase the risk of premature death.

Hunger does not only weigh on the individual. It also imposes a crushing economic burden on the developing world. Economists estimate that every child whose physical and mental development is

stunted by hunger and malnutrition stands to lose 5-10 percent in lifetime earnings.

Among the Millennium Development Goals which the United Nations has set for the 21st century, halving the proportion of hungry people in the world is top of the list. Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the 1990s, progress began to level off between 2000 and 2010.

For a 10-minute briefing on Hunger, explore our Hunger Map, Hunger Stats and Hunger FAQs.

 

Every year, authors, journalists, teachers, researchers, schoolchildren and students ask us for statistics about hunger and malnutrition. To help answer these questions, we've compiled a list of useful facts and figures on world hunger.

842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. This number has fallen by 17 percent since 1990.

 

The vast majority of hungry people (827 million) live in developing countries, where 14.3 percent of the population is undernourished.

 

 Asia has the largest number of hungry people (over 500 million) but Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence (24.8 percent of population).
 

 

 If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
 

 

Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five - 3.1 million children each year.
 

 

One out of six children -- roughly 100 million -- in developing countries is underweight.
 

 

 One in four of the world's children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
 

 

 80 percent of the world's stunted children live in just 20 countries.
 

 

66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
 

 

WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.
 

 


1. Source:State of Food Insecurity in the World,FAO, 2013
2. Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2013
3. Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2013
4. Source: Women in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap for Development, FAO, 2011
5. Source: Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition, The Lancet, 2013
6. Source: Global health Observatory, WHO, 2012
7. Source: Prevalence and Trends of Stunting among ... Children, Public Health Nutrition, 2012
8. Source: Maternal and Child Undernutrition: Effective Action at National Level,The Lancet, 2008
9. Source:Two Minutes to Learn About School Meals, WFP, 2012
10. Source:Two Minutes to Learn About School Meals, WFP, 2012