After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 per cent of the global population, says a new edition of the annual United Nations report on world food security and nutrition released today.
According to a press release published by the FAO Representation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, The multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide. The increase - 38 million more people than the previous year - is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017.
Some 155 million children aged under five are stunted (too short for their age), the report says, while 52 million suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height. An estimated 41 million children are now overweight. Anaemia among women and adult obesity are also cause for concern. These trends are a consequence not only of conflict and climate change but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits as well as economic slowdowns.
The report is the first UN global assessment on food security and nutrition to be released following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 as a top international policy priority.
"Over the past decade, conflicts have risen dramatically in number and become more complex and intractable in nature," the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in their joint foreword to the report. They stressed that some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children in the world are now concentrated in conflict zones.
Overall number of hungry people in the world is 815 million, including: 520 million in Asia, 243 million in Africa, and 42 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. Accordingly, the share of the global population who are hungry is 11%, including: 11.7% in Asia, 20% in Africa (in eastern Africa, 33.9%), and 6.6% in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Based on the recent findings 155 million children under 5 years of age suffer from stunted growth (height too low for their age). Also 122 million are living in countries affected by varying levels of conflict. Meanwhile, 52 million Children under 5 are affected by wasting (weight too low given their height).
The annual United Nations report on world food security and nutrition suggests that 641 million adults (13% of all adults on the planet) are obese, while 41 million children under 5 are overweight. Number of women of reproductive age affected by anaemia is 613 million (around 33% of the total)
Conflicts play a crucial role in increasing trend of food insecurity and malnutrition. 489 million of 815 million hungry people on the planet live in countries affected by conflict. The prevalence of hunger in countries affected by conflict is 1.4 - 4.4 percentage points higher than in other countries. Also, in conflict settings compounded by conditions of institutional and environmental fragility, the prevalence is 11 and 18 percentage points higher. People living in countries affected by protracted crises are nearly 2.5 times more likely to be undernourished than people elsewhere.