Hunger and malnutrition in the world

Why are there so many hungry children?
Why are there so many hungry children?

Food (and water) is fuel for the body. Our muscles need this fuel to function. Without food for a couple of days, the body will convert all fats stored in the body to energy for use. If this condition is prolonged, the body begins to reduce its activities naturally. The result is a slow response, low-activity, and slow reaction that you see in starving people. The body has run out of energy and cannot work.

Now and again, you see fund-raising adverts, news, and other stories on TV, newspapers, and the internet with skinny children, together with their mothers. Those are difficult images to ignore, but they are real. In many places in the world, some families cannot even bring themselves to think, talk, walk or even sleep because there is simply no energy in their bodies to do so.

Food energy is measured in kilocalories. It is recommended that the average person consumes about 2,200Kilocalories each day to live a healthy life. Extra energy is needed during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Source: World Food Programme

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing countries. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries. Source: FAO 2012

It is easy to think that hungry people are lazy, and hunger is the only result they deserve. That is not the case. It is difficult for individuals to help themselves, especially if they are caught up in the usual conflicts, extreme climates, political or economic difficulties that often result in their situations.

Undernourishment or Chronic Hunger
A state, lasting for at least one year, of the inability to acquire enough food, defined as a level of food intake insufficient to meet dietary energy requirements.

In this lesson, we shall look at what causes this extreme lack of food situation, and if there is anything we can do about it.