Monday, May 29, 2017

Hunger amid Plenty

That’s 795 million people on the planet who suffer from chronic hunger, according to the United Nations World Food Program. The U.N. forecasts that an additional 2 billion people will be lacking food by 2050. In addition, 1 in 3 people suffers from some form of malnutrition, which means they lack sufficient vitamins and minerals in their diet, which can lead to health issues such as stunted growth in children. Most of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, with Asia as the continent with the most hungry people — about 526 million — according to U.N. data. Each year, poor nutrition kills 3.1 million children under the age of five. In addition, 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity worldwide.

The world produces enough food to feed the planet’s 7 billion-plus people, so why are so many going hungry? It’s mainly because most hungry people don’t have the resources to grow or buy food, according to experts. Chronic hunger goes hand in hand with poverty. 

As mothers, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs, women can play a crucial role in defeating hunger, experts say. Given the opportunity, women could slash the number of hungry people in the world by up to 150 million people

1.3 billion tons of the food produced worldwide never gets eaten. 

The figure equates to about one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

According to the U.N. Every year, consumers in wealthy nations waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons), the agency reported. And food wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people.

At $18 trillion, America’s economy represents close to a quarter of the entire global economy, according to World Bank data. But that hasn’t kept a substantial portion of the nation — where an estimated 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste each year – from going hungry. More than 42 million people in the United States face hunger, including nearly 13 million children and more than 5 million seniors, according to Feeding America, a nationwide nonprofit organization that feeds more than 46 million Americans through pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community outlet. Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Kentucky are the states with the highest rates of food insecurity in households — meaning people do not have reliable access to enough affordable and nutritious food — according to Feeding America.

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