World Hunger Remains Alarmingly High; Children Especially Vulnerable

Hunger rates are still unacceptably high in 29 countries, calling into question whether halving world hunger within the next five years — a Millennium Development Goal set by the United Nations — is feasible.

The news comes from the Global Hunger Index, an annual survey published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and other groups. According to the index, which examined 2003-2008 data from 122 countries, more than 1 billion people went hungry in 2009. (The food and financial crises contributed to that number.)

A bit of good news is that the global hunger index has improved by 24 percent since 1990.

Also, in 2010 the number of hungry people dropped to 925 million, based on UN Food and Agriculture Organization figures. But world hunger levels remain “serious” by Global Hunger Index standards, and regional variations are great. Most of the nations with “alarming” scores are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The report states that in sub-Saharan Africa war, instability, and high HIV/AIDS rates are leading to high child mortality; in South Asia, women’s low nutritional, educational and social status leads to higher numbers of underweight children.

Preventing Child Malnutrition

The Global Hunger Index uses three measures — the portion of people who are undernourished, the portion of children under five who are underweight, and the child mortality rate. Child under-nutrition is the greatest contributor to a nation’s hunger rating, making up almost half of the score. 

“To improve their scores, many countries must accelerate progress in reducing child malnutrition,” says Marie Ruel, director of IFPRI’s Poverty, Health, and Nutrition division. “Considerable research shows that the window of opportunity for improving nutrition spans from conception to age two.” Prenatal nutrition is key, she said. “Early childhood under-nutrition perpetuates poverty from one generation to another.”

The index scores ten countries with the worst hunger levels. Rated “extremely alarming” or “alarming” are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Chad, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Comoros, Madagascar, and the Central African Republic.

SOS Children’s Villages, which provides food, warm homes, and concrete hope to abandoned children in most of these nations, has been saving children’s lives for more than six decades.  

photo credit: SOS Children's Villages
By Kyna Rubin, SOS Children's Villages

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Jackie Greeley
Jackie Greeley4 years ago

its sad that people have to go hungry. we need to do what we can to help everyone. There is someone in Africa who has asked me to send food for him and his family. I am trying to get them some help. i feel terrible that i can't send it myself. God bless

jane richmond
jane richmond5 years ago

Thanks for the update

Ingrid A.

Thanks for posting this interesting article!

Erin H.
Erin H.5 years ago

interesting article, thankyou

Zelime Matthews
Zelime Matthews5 years ago

Sad that there are people going to bed hungry, So inexcusable. There is enough food in the world and a little machine that spues out money. NO ONE should be hungry!

Pirjo H.
Past Member 5 years ago

Sad that there are people going to bed hungry, when there in the same time are those going to bed not caring.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

before I can help people in other countries, I want to see my own country do something about it here

Lika S.
Lika S.5 years ago

Okay, giving them food is one thing, but why give them fish when we can teach them how to fish?

Are we there teaching them about irrigation, and how we can get irrigated water? How about the "outdated" farm equipment of our farmers, and donating to these countries, so they can have better stuff to farm with? Or hooking up more of the coffee growers to fair trade venues? Or helping to trade/export unique jewels and such to third world shops?

In the mean time, I see nothing wrong with helping, but just remember, what is disposable here, and recyclable, they may not be able to do anything with it, creating other problems they're not able to deal with.

Just remember, babies need to learn to stand before they can walk. If these countries are going to get out of poverty, they need to learn how to fend for themselves. So let's teach them.

Shane P.
.5 years ago

People going hungry again.... Here is a very good idea. Stop wasting all that farmland on cotton!!!!! Why you people cover yourself out of the fear of ones own body is downright pathetic!!!! The ONLY time where clothes and shoes are needed is in cold and dangerous environments. I have cut by my cost by a very large amount by going nude for most of the day. Clothes last longer and the water and heat bill dropped and i feel much healthier. Now if farms made good healthy food instead of cotton...... would the world still be hungry??? I heard of a sea that was drained by cotton fields. Wheat and bananas are not as thirsty as cotton.

Brenda R.
Brenda R.5 years ago

Live, learn, and pass it on....