Fact About Malnutrition And World Hunger
Hunger is among the most frightful problems that the present world is facing. The magnitude of the problem can be assessed by the fact that the number of deaths due to malnutrition and hunger is higher than the number of deaths caused by diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and HIV-AIDS. Surprisingly, inadequate quantity of food for world population is not the result of any environmental changes, dangerous pathogens or lethal nuclear weapons!
- Worldwide every year 6 million children die of hunger or malnutrition.
- Worldwide population of hungry is over 950 million. Of this over 800 million are malnourished.
- Of all the hungry people on the face of the earth, nearly fifty percent live in the Indian subcontinent.
- The world’s population of undernourished children of less than five years of age is over 150 million.
- Since the Black Death during the 19th century, over 50% of deaths the world over have been caused due malnutrition.
- Poverty is the chief cause of hunger, as more than 500 million people in Asia, the Americas and the Latin American countries live in absolute poverty.
The Green Revolution of the 1960s-70s, when high yielding food crops were introduced, reportedly saved over one billion lives. Yet, the developments in the field of bio-fuels have added to food crisis as the raw material for these fuels is maize, which is among the foremost food crops.
It is realized that malnutrition is more prevalent among women. The reason could be their inclination to first feed their offspring. Nevertheless, malnutrition among pregnant women can affect the fetus very adversely and may cause hereditary disorders among newborns. It is estimated that the cost of an average war machine ($600,000) suffices to feed one person for over 300 years, considering that $5/day can feed one man.
For its sheer sustenance, human body essentially requires minimum quantity of nutrients. Lack of such nutrients exposes the body to fatal conditions. There is enough evidence to prove that some such disorders are: kwashiorkor, caused by shortage of proteins, scurvy, due deficiency of vitamin C, and other disorders caused by shortage of other vitamins. It is learnt that children affected by malnutrition are vulnerable to learning and mental disorders. Iodine is essentially required for sound mental health.
Undernourishment and hunger have a direct connection with poverty. Extended hunger and malnourishment adversely affect one’s performance at work, which ultimately affects one’s earnings. That is how this vicious cycle goes on. A study undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals that worldover more than 50% of malnourished children are found in countries producing surplus foodstuffs. It is established that there is capacity on this planet to produce food adequate for existing population. It implies that distribution of food is uneven, calling for global collaboration to organize supply of food for every human in every corner of the world.
16 October has been observed as World Food day by FAO since 1945. World Food Day has had eighteen subject matters since 1995, of which 14 concerning food security and world hunger have continued to go around till date. It is indeed unfortunate that despite having spent so much of efforts and time there is no guarantee for just one of the most fundamental requirements of man!