11 October 2010
Around one billion people in the world don't have enough healthy food to eat, according to a new report. The 2010 Global Hunger Index shows that child malnutrition is one of the biggest causes of lifelong ill health worldwide.
Click to hear the report:
Despite the number of undernourished people in the world falling between 1990 and 2006, recent years have seen that number creep up, with the data from 2009 showing more than one billion hungry people. The most recent figures from 2010 suggest the number may again be falling, but this data isn't yet complete.
Twenty nine countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, have levels of hunger described as alarming or extremely alarming. The global food price crisis and the worldwide recession have contributed to this rise, says the report. And it's children under two who are most at risk. Malnourishment at this stage harms physical and mental development and its effects are mostly irreversible, causing life long damage.
The authors argue that improving child nutrition would have the biggest effect on reducing global hunger. They estimate that child malnutrition could be cut by around a third by providing improved health care and nutrition, not only to young children, but also to mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Reducing the numbers of hungry people will also significantly improve productivity and economic development.
Ania Lichtarowicz, BBC News, London
Click to hear the vocabulary:
not getting enough food or starving
- creep up
rise slowly, almost as if it was not really noticed
emergency or urgent situation
- worldwide recession
bad performance of economies around the world
- most at risk
in greatest danger or likely to experience greatest difficulty
not having enough food to eat
cannot be changed
- global hunger
the number of people around the world who are starving
- child malnutrition
the number of children not getting enough food to be healthy and to grow
output or goods created