Throughout history, food scarcity has plagued countless societies. Whether it is a combination of factors that impact a society's ability to grow food at any given time or an issue of simple access to arable land, peoples the world over have experienced times of hunger. World hunger can manifest in two key ways: protein-energy malnutrition, wherein a person does not have access to enough calories and proteins to maintain their overall health, or micronutrient deficiency, where an individual is lacking specific vital elements of a healthy diet and this causes corresponding health problems.
Research shows the following regarding world hunger:
- One in nine people throughout the world suffer from one of the two forms of hunger;
- Nearly 800 million people globally do not have access to a full, well-balanced diet.
- When children around the world experience hunger, they are more likely to experience developmental delays that are both physical and cognitive in nature.
It is important to note that the vast majority of these individuals live in countries that are still in the process of developing. While hunger is certainly an issue in countries like the United States, Great Britain, and China, it is in countries that are still coming into their own that hunger plagues the most people.
Similarly, undernourishment results in weakened immune systems, leaving those who are also faced with hunger at increased risk for diseases like malaria, measles, and pneumonia. The most concerning element of the world hunger issue is that the world produces more than enough food to provide for everyone. The problem, however, is physical and economic access to this food. As this is a global crisis, it will take the contributions of various countries to develop a solution.