What are the effects of hunger?

Hunger and poverty go hand in hand. Let us see the effects of hunger in these 4 areas:


Hunger and malnutrition make the body weak and vulnerable to diseases and infections as the body does not have the fuel to build muscle and fight off infections. In children, this is deadly, and many children die in hunger prone areas for this reason. Pregnant and malnourished mothers also deliver underweight babies who struggle to survive. Children often have stunted growth as a result of malnutrition.

One out of six children – roughly 100 million – in developing countries is underweight. Poor nutrition causes nearly half 45% of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. WFP


Without proper foods (with the right balance of vitamins and minerals) the brain is not able to develop properly. Hunger also makes it difficult to concentrate on anything, especially for children. Children suffer from this most and are unable to stay in school. Hunger also keeps children away from school, as they have to walk for miles to do some farm work to make a living with their families.

66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone. WFP

Migration and Society:

Young adults who can migrate to nearby towns and cities end up in slums or run down communities, as they cannot afford the high living standards in the cities. Their low education level also makes them unsuitable for many good-paying city jobs. Many of them end up doing drugs, robbery, prostitution, and other crimes to make a living.


Countries with lots of hunger tend to do poorly with the economy. That is because adults and young adults do not have the right frame of mind to work. They are constantly ill and work input and interest are very low. Fewer hands on farms also mean that there is not enough produce from the farming villages into the towns for consumption and further export. People live from hand to mouth with little to invest in the wider economy. Additionally, governments are forced to spend more on food aid and care, rather than investing in schools, infrastructure, and healthcare.

Did you know?

Good nutrition early in life is also essential for children to attain their developmental potential; however, poor nutrition often coincides with other developmental risks, in particular, inadequate stimulation during early childhood.

— The Lancet, Maternal, and Child Nutrition