Monday, October 11, 2010

One billion people without enough food

According to statistics one billion people in the world were under nourished in 2009.

The 2010 Global Hunger Index shows that child malnutrition is the biggest reason of hunger worldwide, accounting for almost half of those affected. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia were revealed to have the highest levels of hunger. Despite the number of undernourished people in the world falling between 1990 and 2006, the number has crept up in recent years, with the data from 2009 showing more than one billion starving people.

The most recent figures from 2010 suggest the number may again be falling but this data is not yet over. The Global Health Index (GHI) is calculated for 122 developing and transition countries. Out of which 29 countries are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia - have levels of hunger described as "extremely alarming" or "alarming". The GHI shows hunger increasing in nine countries, North Korea and eight sub-Saharan African nations. The Democratic Republic of Congo saw the biggest increase, GHI rose by more than 65%.

Children under the age of two are considered to be more vulnerable. Malnourishment at this stage harms physical and mental development and its effects are mostly irreversible causing lifelong damage. In some sub-Saharan African countries, for example Burundi and Madagascar, about half the children have stunted growth because they do not have access to an appropriate diet.

It is estimated that child malnutrition could be cut by about a third by providing improved health care and nutrition, not only to young children but also to mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding.