Food Insecurity and World Hunger: The Widespread Effects of Homelessness
Updated: Jan 19
Jan 12, 2019 | Vatsalya Verma
What defines hunger in our world? Is it a continual pattern of filling our bellies to the sound of a grumbling stomach? Or worse yet, for the millions of others worldwide, is it the physical and psychological distress that creates a sense of euphoria in their guts caused by the lack of nutritional and economic resources? Either way, we simple definition of hunger can be the scarcity of food in a country. Let's see how that has affected the United States:
-"More than 38 million people are living in poverty in America.
-In 2019, most families living in poverty earn less than $25,750 per year.
-More than 37 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including more than 11 million children.
-A household facing food insecurity has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
-Children are more likely to face food insecurity than any other group in the United States"
But what are the causes of widespread hunger? And what can we do about it today?
Poverty: Poverty is the major cause of any crisis so it should not be a surprise if it makes the top list of world hunger problems as well. Poverty and hunger go hand in hand. Those living in poverty often face hunger, as they cannot afford nutritious food for themselves and their families.
Food shortages: An estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are currently facing Crisis food insecurity or worse. The number of children and women in need of nutritional support increased between 2016 and 2017, mainly in areas affected by conflict or insecurity such as Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, and northern Nigeria. Some of these countries have also experienced severe outbreaks of cholera, exacerbating levels of acute malnutrition. United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and 70% more food needs to be produced to feed these people. Roughly, one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tones — gets lost or wasted. Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
Poor nutrition: It is very important to know that when it comes to hunger, it is not just about access to food but also access to appropriate nutrients. Many people are able to afford basic food, but that does not necessarily mean that they are able to meet the daily nutritional requirements of the human body. Poor families rely on just one or two staple foods such as corn or wheat that means they are not getting enough of critical macronutrients as well as vitamins. An estimated 15% of all the births in developing countries result in incidents of low-birth-weight babies. Thus, poor nutrition is one of the major factors contributing to the increase of this monster called hunger.
Economy: While talking about world hunger, one cannot forget to mention the declining economy of various countries that is also the major cause of world hunger. Much like the poverty-hunger cycle, nutritional resilience at a national level is tied to a country’s economic resilience. For example, Liberia‘s overall economic troubles deepened after the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and now more than 15% of the country’s families don’t know where their next meal will come from. Working towards economic stability is crucial to addressing other issues.
Other causes can be Gender Inequality, War and Conflict to name a few. After knowing the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of a problem, one should be able to answer the ‘how’ of it as well. It is not easy to fight such a huge problem but at least we can begin today by making a few changes.
So how can you support this major issue? Donate today and make one person's life better:
Remember, every little contribution counts. If we aim to solve the global issue of world hunger, we must act now before the problem is out of our hands.