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Global Hunger Rates Improve, but 1 in 9 are still Malnourished

Update Date: Sep 16, 2014 09:36 AM EDT

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. In an ideal world, no one would have to go hungry. However, this is not the case. According to a new report conducted by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), researchers found that even though the hunger rates throughout the world are improving, one in nine people, or 805 million, are still undernourished.

"The problem is getting smaller," stated Josef Schmidhuber, an economist with the FAO who compiled part of the report reported by the National Geographic. "It's good news, but we have always had a more ambitious target."

The UN, International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program's (WFP) goal was to reduce the global hunger rate by one-half from 1990 to 2015. Since 1990, the number of global hunger cases fell by more than 200 million. Even though efforts are working, the report concluded, according to FOX News that "food insecurity is still a challenge to be conquered."

On the positive end, the report found that food accessibility improved in some regions of East and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. In India, the number of people who went undernourished fell by more than 20 million since 1990. India has the highest rate of malnourishment in Asia. In Indonesia, the number of undernourished people fell by more than 50 percent since 1990.

"This is proof that we can win the war against hunger and should inspire countries to move forward, with the assistance of the international community as needed," the report wrote according to CNN Money.

Despite improvements in these rates, the report singled out certain countries that need to improve their current situation. Many of these countries are in Africa where one in five people go hungry. In the Central African Republic, 38 percent of the population is undernourished and in Zambia, the hunger rate is at 48 percent. The highest rate in the world, however, was not in Africa. In Haiti, 52 percent of the population is undernourished.

"In Haiti, as in many other parts of the world, food available on the market is often not sufficiently varied to meet people's dietary needs," said Grace Tillyard, a WFP officer in Haiti. "Economic and physical boundaries mean that people cannot afford or cannot physically access enough different types of food, and this can severely impact their health over time."

The report concluded that in order to improve food security in these countries, the governments must address issues, such as poor infrastructure and political instability. The report, "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014," can be accessed here.

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