What is Hunger?
The average person needs 2100 kilocalories per day. Without these essential calories the body slows down its physical and mental activities.
A hungry adult cannot take action. A hungry child will not have the energy to learn or play. Long-term hunger breaks down the body’s immune system, leaving it vulnerable to disease and infection. Today 1 in 6 people do not have enough food to lead an active healthy life.
Explore the Issue
Children who have had enough to eat are more productive, can concentrate in class and can create opportunities for themselves and their families to break the cycles of poverty and hunger.
As developing countries continue to battle hunger, some are also facing the opposing problem of obesity.
When children are obese they have a higher chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Although some of the poor are becoming bigger, this does not mean they are better fed. Obesity often masks hidden problems like a lack of proper vitamins and minerals.
The effects of climate change are most destructive in the poorest nations. Unpredictable growing seasons and rainfall mean farmers in poor nations struggle to bring their crops to harvest. For many communities around the world climate change means starvation.
Feeding babies with breastmilk only for the first six months of life, then introducing safe foods while continuing to breastfeed up to age 3, helps to avoid 20% of deaths of children under age 5.
The vital nutrients supplied by mother’s milk can prevent stunting and obesity, and stimulate mental development and emotional strength in young children.
Essential vitamins and minerals in the diet are vital to boost immunity and healthy development. Children lacking in vitamin A, zinc, iron and iodine are a major public health concern. About 2 billion people worldwide are affected by low-level iodine nutrition.
Questions about Food
- What does 'Fair Trade' mean?
- How is access to food limited in some countries across the world?
- What can we do to provide better nutrition to these countries?
- Why is it that most of the hungry people in the world are women and children?
- What needs to be done to tackle the problem of obesity and malnutrition?
Resources for Grades K-6
Resources for Grades 7-12
Voices of Youth is an online global community for young people to learn about development issues (such as Poverty and Hunger) and an outlet through which to express their opinions. Source: UNICEF
An interactive and informative map of hunger in Africa with links to further references. Source: WFP
Links to Partner Resource Libraries
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How to Take Action
Do you want to get involved either locally or internationally in this issue?
If so, check out the Explore column to the right. It contains NGO projects that you could support, as well as links to the showcases.