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  • on 20.11.2015
  • at 03:24 PM
  • by Kimberley Evans

Progress Against Undernutrition, But Uneven 0

At the end of 2014, an estimated 795 million people – one in nine people worldwide – were estimated to be chronically hungry. All but 15 million of the world’s hungry live in developing countries, i.e., 780 million are in developing countries, where the share of the hungry has declined by less than half – from 23.4 per cent in 1991 to 12.9 per cent.

Progress Uneven 

Overall progress has been highly uneven. Some countries and regions have seen only slow progress in reducing hunger, while the absolute number of hungry has even increased in several cases. Marked differences in reducing undernourishment have persisted across regions.

There have been significant reductions in both the estimated share and number of undernourished in most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean South-East Asia, East Asia, Central Asia—where the target of halving the hunger rate has been reached.

Progress in sub-Saharan Africa has been more limited, and the region now has the highest prevalence of undernourishment. West Asia is the only region that has seen a rise in the share of the hungry, while progress in South Asia and Oceania has not been sufficient to meet the MDG hunger target by 2015.

In several countries, underweight and stunting persist among children, even when undernourishment is low and most people have access to sufficient food. Nutrition failures are due not only to insufficient food access, but also to poor health conditions and the high incidence of diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

One in seven children under five are underweight

An estimated 99 million children under five years of age were underweight in 2012. This represents a fall of 38 per cent from an estimated 160 million underweight children in 1990. Yet, 15 per cent, or about one in seven of all children under five worldwide, are underweight.

East Asia has led all regions with the largest decrease of underweight children since 1990, followed by the Caucasus and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and West Asia. While the proportion of underweight children was highest in South Asia, the region has also experienced the largest absolute decrease since 1990, contributing significantly to the global decrease over the period. Despite a modest reduction in the proportion of underweight children, Sub-Saharan Africa was the only region where the number of undernourished children increased, rising from 27 million in 1990 to 32 million in 2012.

Continue reading on IPS News

by Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Photo Credits FAO/IPS News

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