15 July 2019, New York – An estimated 820 million people did not have enough to eat in 2018, up from 811 million in the previous year, which is the third year of increase in a row. This underscores the immense challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030, says a new edition of the annual The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report released today.
The pace of progress in halving the number of children who are stunted and in reducing the number of babies born with low birth weight is too slow, which also puts the SDG 2 nutrition targets further out of reach, according to the report.
At the same time, adding to these challenges, overweight and obesity continue to increase in all regions, particularly among school-age children and adults.
The chances of being food insecure are higher for women than men in every continent, with the largest gap in Latin America.
Hunger is increasing in many countries where economic growth is lagging, particularly in middle-income countries and those that rely heavily on international primary commodity trade. The annual UN report also found that income inequality is rising in many of the countries where hunger is on the rise, making it even more difficult for the poor, vulnerable or marginalized to cope with economic slowdowns and downturns.
The report estimates that over 2 billion people, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. But irregular access is also a challenge for high-income countries, including 8 percent of the population in Northern America and Europe.
This calls for a profound transformation of food systems to provide sustainably-produced healthy diets for a growing world population.
Key facts and figures
- Number of hungry people in the world in 2018: 821.6 million (or 1 in 9 people)
- in Asia: 513.9 million
- in Africa: 256.1million
- in Latin America and the Caribbean: 42.5 million
- Babies born with low birth weight: 20.5 million (one in seven)
- Children under 5 affected by stunting (low height-for-age): 148.9 million (21.9%)
- Children under 5 affected by wasting (low weight-for-height): 49.5 million (7.3%)
- Children under 5 who are overweight (high weight-for-height): 40 million (5.9%)
- School-age children and adolescents who are overweight: 338 million
- Adults who are obese: 672 million (13% or 1 in 8 adults)
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