NEW YORK CITY – A new study by the United Nations finds about one in eight people are still affected by chronic hunger. The study, which examines the global hunger crisis between the years 2011 and 2013, shows even though progress is being made to end world hunger, there is still work to be done. These chronically hungry people amount to 842 million every year. This number is a reduction from the previous statistics of 868 million in the U.N.’s former report.
The slight decline in global chronic hunger can possibly be attributed to many factors, including foreign aid investment in agriculture programs, economic growth in the developed world and migrant workers sending their salaries to family. Despite these progresses, sub-Saharan Africa continues to be a region that particularly struggles with economic growth and undernourishment. The Food and Agriculture found one in four people suffer from hunger in the region.
Developing countries are not the only areas of the world with chronically hungry people. About 15.7 million of these people live in developed countries. Regions making the highest improvements in terms of hunger reduction are East Asia, Southeastern Asia and Latin America. The World Food Programme noted hunger diminishment began to plateau in the 2000’s after vast improvements in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
While the exact reasons for the current modest reduction can only be speculated, the consequences of malnourishment and chronic hunger are vast. Countries with high percentages of hunger are less likely to experience economic growth or occupy an educated public. Thus, the vicious circle of hunger, lack of schooling and poverty will continue to spin. The U.N.’s new report does show that the world is making progress towards a healthy and nourished population; however, as long as there are still hundreds of million of people still suffering from chronic hunger, it is not yet time to give up the fight.
– Mary Penn