Rethinking Hunger

Though great strides have been made toward the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of undernourished people in developing countries, the problem remains pervasive. The challenge is not just to provide more food, but to ensure that people have access to the nutrients they need to live healthy, productive lives.

ROME – The world has a nutrition problem. Though great strides have been made toward the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of undernourished people in developing countries, the problem remains persistent, pervasive, and complex. After all, the issue goes beyond merely providing more food; effective efforts to reduce undernourishment must ensure that people have access to enough of the right types of food – those that give them the nutrients they need to live healthy, productive lives.

Since 1945, food production has tripled, and food availability has risen by 40%, on average, per person. Over the last decade alone, vegetable production in the Asia-Pacific region, where more than three-quarters of the world’s vegetables are grown, increased by one-quarter.

But, despite these gains in expanding the food supply, at least 805 million people still go hungry every day, of whom some 791 million live in developing countries. Many more go hungry seasonally or intermittently. And more than two billion people suffer from “hidden hunger” – one or more micronutrient deficiencies.

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