Malnutrition — what does it mean?

Hunger is a word that is a bit tricky to define, but in the context of this lesson, we shall look at hunger concerning communities, countries, and other places in the world.

Hunger is that painful sensation or exhausted condition that one feels from want of food. Concerning countries, it is also the scarcity of food, either for a short period (a year) or consistently for many years.

If a village’s farms are wiped out by a flood and result in no food for a couple of months, the people of that village will be hungry. We can say hunger will set in.

But in a way, it is different from a country suffering from the effects of many years of complex political, economic, and climatic adversities. People in such a country have extreme food shortage year after year with no end in sight. That is hunger too.

If a group of campers got stranded on an icy mountain for days without food, they may experience hunger too. So you see, hunger is a lot more than the absence of lunch or dinner for a day.

Hunger, therefore, is the situation surrounded by food insecurity and results in malnourishment. The emphasis on food insecurity is important because people suffering from hunger are constantly wondering where and when their next food will come. Malnourishment is also key because hunger makes people eat anything to fill their tummy, with no regard to what they get from the meal. This means they can lack the essential nutrients the body needs to function properly.

Hunger gets more complex and worse when more and more communities are affected nearby. It looks slightly hopeful when a starving village, town, or country is surrounded by others with abundance, than if they are with other starving settlements.

Did you know…
Sub Sahara Africa has the highest rate of child underweight and mortality, but the region has seen a decline in this trend.