Nearly 11% of the world’s population, or 815 million people, were chronically undernourished in 2016, according to a United Nations report. This is 38 million more people than 2015.
The increase, the first in a decade, is largely due to rising violent conflicts, climate change, lifestyle changes and economic slowdown. Of the 815 million, 520 million people are from Asian countries.
The report – The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017 – says that malnutrition is threatening millions across the globe. Nearly 155 million children aged under five are too short for their age, while 52 million are underweight, and about 41 million are overweight. Anaemia among women is another major problem, it says.
The report was jointly prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation. It is also the UN’s first global assessment on food security and nutrition released since countries adopted the agenda for sustainable development, which aims to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, the World Health Organisation said.
“This has set off alarm bells we cannot afford to ignore,” the five organisations said. “We will not end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 unless we address all the factors that undermine food security and nutrition.” To meet this, it is important to ensure the world is peaceful and inclusive, they said.