In the last few decades, world hunger has become a widely recognized and highly publicized social issue. Most people know that many people (as much as one third of the entire human population) goes hungry on a daily basis, with even more people highly at risk of going hungry in the near future.
Thanks to high profile advertising campaigns and frequent public service announcements, the majority of people are aware of the devastation that chronic hunger can wreak on families and communities in impoverished areas. At the same time, there are many things about the global hunger problem that commonly go unexplained by even the best and most vigilant public awareness programs. Here are three world hunger facts that many people do not know about.
1. Hunger Affects Every Country
Just going by what’s shown in print media and television commercials that depict global hunger, it would not be irrational to assume that hunger is a problem that largely only affects nations that are mostly undeveloped or considered to be developing nations. This could actually not be farther from the truth. Hunger is actually a remarkably widespread problem, with great portions of the population in the wealthiest western countries none the less still suffering from chronic hunger.
In the case of hunger in well developed nations, it is usually less a question of whether there is food available in a certain area than whether the residents of certain areas can afford to buy food. Hunger is more likely to be caused by income inequality than true shortage in countries that have access to great amounts of food via domestic production or international trade.
2. Hunger Is More Than Insufficient Calories
Many people recognize hunger and starvation by the visual imagery usually used to depict it, and will not identify a person as starving unless they are sallow cheeked and prominently ribbed. In reality, hunger is not always directly associated with the bony body that is the product of a prolonged calorie deficit.
Hunger can also result from malnutrition and a poorly balanced diet. It is possible for someone with a considerable amount of body fat to actually starve to death as a result of insufficient vitamin and mineral consumption. In eliminating hunger, ensuring adequate calorie availability is not enough by itself. The food available to people needs to be not only suitable in quantity, but nutritious as well.
3. Hunger Is Preventable
By looking at the pure numbers of the global hungry, it is easy to assume that there may not be a way to prevent people from suffering prolonged hunger but studies have shown that, if the food grown in wealthy countries was equally distributed among the world population, world hunger could be immediately eradicated. In a world where 40% of all food grown goes to waste, it is a moral imperative to distribute food as widely and generously as possible among the human population.
What these three world hunger facts show is that hunger can take unexpected shapes, scopes, and sizes. However, be in do doubt that, with consistent advocacy and diligence, it is possible to eliminate hunger, no matter its form.