October 16 is World Food Day. This is a day to promote awareness and collective action for people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition in our world.

Hunger and malnutrition are problems which remain to be very much present in our society. Here are the top ten countries which are most affected as of 2018:

Top 10 Countries in terms of 2018 Global Hunger Index Scores , Adapted from “Global Hunger Index 2018: countries most affected by hunger”, by Statista, 2019, retrieved from https://www.statista.com/

This is according to results of the 2018 Global Hunger Index, a joint project of Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a metric used to measure and monitor hunger from the national scale, regional scale, and up to the global scale.

How hunger is measured

In order to compute a country’s GHI score, there are three dimensions and four components which are considered:

01. Inadequacy of food supply

    • Measured by undernourishment rate.

02. Child mortality

    • Measured by the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

03. Child undernutrition

    • Child stunting: number of children (under the age of 5) who are stunted, that is, those have a low height for their age.
    • Child wasting: number of children (under the age of 5) who are stunted, that is, those have a low weight for their height.

 

The GHI is a 100-point scale, with a score of 0 indicating no hunger present in the region.

Meanwhile, a score of 100 signifies that a region currently experiences the worst hunger levels observed as of recent decades.

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The GHI group also created a scale to make it easier to comprehend the severity of the hunger situation in a region:

GHI Severity Scale, Adapted from “About: The Concept of the Global Hunger Index ”, by Global Hunger Index, 2019, retrieved from https://www.globalhungerindex.org/

Highlights

The region which recorded the highest GHI score for the year 2018 is the Central African Republic, gaining a GHI of 53.7. This is followed by Chad (45.4). Meanwhile, Yemen comes in third place with a GHI of 39.7.

With their GHI score, Central Africa Republic falls into the “extremely alarming” category in the GHI severity scale.

Six of the top ten are categorized into the “alarming” hunger category. Lastly, the remaining three have hunger situations classified as “serious.”

Africa occupies the most number of spots in the top ten, with six regions belonging to the continent. Asian countries occupy three spots in the top ten. Meanwhile, North America’s Haiti is the sole country from the continent which is in the top ten.

Worldwide, the level of hunger and malnutrition is 20.9, which falls under the “serious” category of the severity scale.

Getting to know hunger and malnutrition

The National Research Council defines hunger as “a short-term physical discomfort as a result of chronic food shortage, or in severe cases, a life-threatening lack of food.”

Meanwhile, they define malnutrition as “a condition resulting from insufficient intake of biologically necessary nutrients .”

There are two main types of malnutrition:

  1. Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM)
  2. Micronutrient deficiency, the deficiency of vitamins and minerals.

The following are some of the leading causes of hunger:

  • Poverty
  • Conflict
  • Political instability
  • Poor food and agricultural policies
  • Climate change
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Not a time to be content

On the whole, the GHI group observed an overall improvement in the levels of hunger in malnutrition in the world. However, given that our worldwide GHI score indicates that global hunger is still on a seriously severe level, we still have a long way to go.

Before us is a multidimensional crisis demanding a concerted effort from world governments and the relevant sectors. With millions of people suffering over the globe, we cannot be happy with just the diligent execution of policies and actions that are currently laid down. Clearly, these are not enough.

We must push further and never cease to look for solutions until the deeply entrenched roots of world hunger is uprooted once and for all. Right now, our world has no room for blind contentment and complacency.

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