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UN Report: 1 in 8 Experiences Chronic Hunger Throughout the World

Update Date: Oct 02, 2013 10:33 AM EDT

Chronic hunger is a serious global problem that needs to be remedied. People and children who suffer from hunger everyday are at a greater risk of malnutrition and health conditions. Even though programs and campaigns have been created solely for this cause, a new United Nations report stated that one in eight people experiences chronic hunger throughout the world.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World report combined data gathered from three UN food agencies. The data were collected from 2011 to 2013. Based on their calculations, 842 million people from the global community, equivalent to 12 percent of the world's population, do not get proper nutrition, which prevents them from leading healthy lifestyles. This number is 17 percent lower than the estimate from 1990 to 1992. It is also lower than 2010-2012's estimate of 868 million and 2009's number of 1.02 billion. The researchers believe that the small reduction was due to economic growth in poorer countries, increased investments in agriculture and funds coming home from family members working elsewhere.

Even though progress is being made, the report found that the gains were not experienced by all. The report stated that people from East Asia, Southeastern Asian and Latin America have experienced more progress than other regions of the world. The report calculated that around 15.7 million who suffer from chronic hunger are from developed nations, which means the vast majority of the cases are from developing and impoverished countries.

"Sub-Saharan African has made only modest progress in recent years and remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment," the Food and Agriculture Organization said reported by NPR. "One in four people (24.8 percent) [are] estimated to be hungry."

The authors stressed the importance of adopting the policies created to help combat hunger.

"Policies aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and increasing food availability, especially when smallholders are targeted, can achieve hunger reduction even where poverty is widespread," the heads of the three agencies said in a statement accompanying the report. "When they are combined with social protection and other measures that increase the incomes of poor families, they can have an even more positive effect and spur rural development, by creating vibrant markets and employment opportunities, resulting in equitable economic growth."

The Millennium Development Goal aims to cut chronic hunger by 50 percent by 2015. The Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program published the report. 

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