The United Nations reported on Monday that more than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide last year. That was up from 811 million in 2017. This is the third year in a row that the number has increased.
“The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” was produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN agencies including the World Health Organization.
The report says after decades of decline, food insecurity began to rise in 2015 mainly because of climate change and civil war and that getting to a world where no one is suffering from hunger by then remains an “immense challenge”.
Reversing of the trend is one of the 2030 targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The report stated that “To safeguard food security and nutrition, it is critical to already have in place economic and social policies to counteract the effects of adverse economic cycles when they arrive, while avoiding cuts in essential services, such as health care and education, at all costs.”
Malnutrition remains widespread in Africa, where around 20 percent of the population is affected, and in Asia where more than 12 percent of people experience it.
Summing up the number of people suffering from famine to those hit by food insecurity brings a total of more than two billion.
Around 149 million children currently suffer from hunger-related growth delays.
Current efforts were insufficient to meet the goal of having the number of children whose growth is stunted by malnutrition by 2030, as stated by the FAO.
At the same time, the report notes that obesity and excess weight are both on the rise in all regions, with school-age children and adults particularly affected.