The FAO Hunger Map 2013 has been published . This map displays nutritional information for developing countries. The data are based on the latest edition of FAO’s annual publication “The State of Food Insecurity in the World”.
Most of the world’s hungry live in developing countries. According to the latest Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, there are 870 million hungry people in the world and 98 percent of them are in developing countries. They are distributed like this (WFP, 2013):
578 million in Asia and the Pacific
239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa
53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean
37 million in the Near East and North Africa
19 million in developed countries
Three-quarters of all hungry people live in rural areas, mainly in the villages of Asia and Africa. Overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture for their food, these populations have no alternative source of income or employment. As a result, they are vulnerable to crises. Many migrate to cities in their search for employment, swelling the ever-expanding populations of shanty towns in developing countries.
FAO calculates that around half of the world’s hungry people are from smallholder farming communities, surviving off marginal lands prone to natural disasters like drought or flood. Another 20 percent belong to landless families dependent on farming and about 10 percent live in communities whose livelihoods depend on herding, fishing or forest resources.
The remaining 20 percent live in shanty towns on the periphery of the biggest cities in developing countries. The numbers of poor and hungry city dwellers are rising rapidly along with the world’s total urban population.
An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight – the result of acute or chronic hunger (Source: The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2009). All too often, child hunger is inherited: up to 17 million children are born underweight annually, the result of inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy.
Women are the world’s primary food producers, yet cultural traditions and social structures often mean women are much more affected by hunger and poverty than men. A mother who is stunted or underweight due to an inadequate diet often give birth to low birthweight children.
Around 50 per cent of pregnant women in developing countries are iron deficient (source: Unicef). Lack of iron means 315,000 women die annually from hemorrhage at childbirth. As a result, women, and in particular expectant and nursing mothers, often need special or increased intake of food.
Some Basic Definition (FAO)
The outcome of undernourishment, and/or poor absorption and/or poor biological use of nutrients consumed as a result of repeated infectious disease. It includes being underweight for one’s age, too short for one’s age (stunted), dangerously thin for one’s height (wasted) and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient malnutrition).
Undernourishment or Chronic Hunger
A state, lasting for at least one year, of inability to acquire enough food, defined as a level of food intake insufficient to meet dietary energy requirements. For the purposes of this report, hunger was defined as being synonymous with chronic undernourishment.
|Number and percentage of undernourished persons|
An abnormal physiological condition caused by inadequate, unbalanced or excessive consumption of macronutrients and/or micronutrients. Malnutrition includes undernutrition and overnutrition as well as micronutrient deficiencies.
- Food security
A situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Based on this definition, four food security dimensions can be identified: food availability, economic and physical access to food, food utilization and stability over time.
- Food insecurity
A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. It may be caused by the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution or inadequate use of food at the household level. Food insecurity, poor conditions of health and sanitation and inappropriate care and feeding practices are the major causes of poor nutritional status. Food insecurity may be chronic, seasonal or transitory.