5 Things to Know About World Hunger

5 Things to Know About Hunger Across the World

The World Food Program, a Rome-based United Nations agency, won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its work combating world hunger during an unprecedented year of economic turmoil and a greater threat of hunger worldwide.

The award recognizes the organization’s work that The Associated Press reports served 100 million people throughout 88 countries in 2019, and highlights the importance of food security as a means for peace. In its announcement, the Nobel Committee said starvation has worsened, with 135 million people facing acute hunger in 2019.

Some of the WFP’s initiatives take place in dangerous places that have travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the agency formed an emergency delivery service on a global scale, an unprecedented effort that the AP reports involves nearly 130 countries that in addition to food also brings in drugs to combat diseases.

Here are five things to know about world hunger:

5. Healthier Diets Would Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The WFP report indicates that healthier diets would not only have lasting impacts on individuals and their respective health, but also on the environment. A swift change to healthy diets, on national levels, has the potential to cut down on health costs associated with unhealthy diets, offsetting the diet-related costs of greenhouse gas emissions by three quarters.

4. Nutrient-Dense Diets Are Out of Reach for Many

Access to food is only part of the equation, as the quality of one’s diet has lasting impacts on individuals throughout the world, and especially on children. Economic barriers pose a threat to nutrient-rich diets, which are more costly than unhealthy diets. In the United States, a healthy diet costs more than the international poverty threshold, $1.90 per day. A healthy diet is five times more expensive than a starch-only diet. It is estimated that 3 million people cannot afford a nutrient-heavy diet. This shortcoming contributes to malnutrition and obesity rates, alike.

3. Pandemic Will Likely Increase World Hunger

The pandemic has stalled hunger initiatives worldwide, impacting the distribution of food at various levels. The WFP report estimates that an additional 83 million people will go hungry this year as a result of the pandemic, with the potential to affect as many as 132 million people due to the economic toll.

2. The Undernourished: Highest Numbers in Asia, Fastest Growth in Africa

Asia has the greatest number of undernourished individuals by continent, with 381 million people, or 8.3% of the region’s population. Africa follows with 250 million undernourished people, surpassing Asia percentage wise with 19.1% of its population being undernourished. If trends continue, Africa will account for more than half of the world’s chronically hungry population by 2030.

1. 690 Million People Went Hungry in 2019

According to a recent World Food Program report, world hunger has increased by nearly 60 million people in the past five years, moving in step with the global population. After a downward trend for decades, chronic hunger rose in 2014 and has continued since. In 2019, 690 million people went hungry, up by 10 million from 2018.

5 Things to Know About Hunger Across the World

1. 690 million people went hungry in 2019.

2. The undernourished: highest numbers in Asia, fastest growth in Africa.

3. Pandemic will likely increase world hunger.

4. When food is available, nutrient-dense diets are out of reach for many.

5. A global switch to healthier diets would cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Want to Know More?

The 2020 U.S. News Best Countries rankings, formed in partnership with BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, aim to gauge global perceptions of the world’s largest economies.

Find out how your country did in the 2020 Best Countries rankings and explore more news, data and analysis on U.S. News.

More from U.S. News

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5 Things to Know About World Hunger originally appeared on usnews.com

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