Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Why world hunger has risen for the first time in a decade

Why world hunger has risen for the first time in a decade

While the amount of undernourished people around the world rose to the highest since 2008 previous year, it was still about 14 percent below a peak set in 2003.

World hunger peaked in 2000 when 900 million people didn't have enough food.

Asia has the largest number of hungry people - 520 million - and sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of hungry, affecting 20 per cent of the population.

Using official data gathered from each of the countries covered, the report records the prevalence of children who are below average height by the age of five, called stunting, and tallies overweight and obesity in children and adults. It is also the UN's first global assessment on food security and nutrition released since countries adopted the agenda for sustainable development, which aims to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, the World Health Organisation said. Anaemia among women is another major problem, it says.

"It's not only about meeting need, but also ending the need and addressing the root causes of hunger", Zlatan Milisic, from the UN's World Food Program, said.

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Overal, the number of chronically hungry people rose to 815 million, or 11 percent of the world's population, in 2016.

The number of chronically hungry people in the world is on the rise again after a decade of decline, the United Nations reported Friday, citing intensifying conflicts, floods and droughts as reasons.

Meantime, an estimated 41 million children are now overweight.

It singles out conflict, which is increasingly compounded by climate change, as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition. And "these trends are a outcome not only of conflict and climate change, but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits as well as economic slowdowns".

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017 - says that malnutrition is threatening millions across the globe.

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David Beasley, the head of the World Food Programme described the latest figures as "an indictment on humanity".

Some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children are found in countries affected by conflict, a situation that is even more alarming in countries characterised by prolonged conflicts and fragile institutions.

Starvation struck parts of South Sudan earlier this year, and there is a high risk that it could return there, and also develop in other places affected by conflict: north-east Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, the United Nations agencies said.

The report also names the destruction of wheat and barley fields in Iraq, damage to infrastructure in Syria, and the loss of livestock and crops in South Sudan as effects of conflict which are linked to hunger.

"If we want to beat poverty, injustice and hunger we need to tackle climate change". Agriculture investment must also be combined with investment in technology and fighting food losses and creating access to markets'.

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