Global Hunger. Who or what is to be blamed for it?

Term Paper, 2015

16 Pages, Grade: 1,5

David Knobelspies (Author)


Table of content

Executive Summary

1. Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Goal
1.3 Scope

2. What is hunger?
2.1 Health risks

3. Four different causes of hunger?
3.1 Poverty as main problem
3.2 World Population Growth
3.3 Food Waste
3.4 The more we eat meat, the fewer people we can feed

4. Discussion

5. Recommendation


Executive summary

Who or what is to be blamed for global hunger?

It is a fact that the state of hunger in developing countries has improved since 1990, according to the 2014 Global Hunger Index report. Nevertheless, the world's level of hunger is still unduly high. According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, approximately 805 million people worldwide are suffering from hunger. There are enormous differences across regions and countries. Therefore the highest hunger levels are in southern Africa and in South Asia. Even though these countries have reached the greatest absolute improvements since 2005, in comparison to developed countries, the hunger levels there are still extremely alarming.

Considering such scarifying facts, the main aim or rather the purpose of this report is to clarify the principal causes for global hunger. Furthermore this report is meant to point out a set of possible approaches to combat hunger. Hereinafter, this report is supposed to inform and educate people and to make them aware of the global hunger misery.

Among the huge amount of possible reasons for the hunger misery worldwide, this report will focus on four causes.

The large world population does make it more difficult to provide a decent standard of living for all. In consequence there is a lot of poverty as the main cause of hunger. Even though the world produces enough food to feed everyone, there is still hunger in the world. The principal problem is that many people in the world still do not have enough income to purchase enough food to feed themselves and their families. (Hunger Notes (2015) - World Hunger Education Service) Moreover the food waste is a big problem. One third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, gets lost or wasted. (United Nations Environment Programme (2015) - Food Waste Facts) Last but not least more and more people want to eat meat. “But the more meat we eat, the fewer people we can feed”. Meat consumption is an inefficient use of grain as the grain could be directly consumed by humans. (Eathoria (2015) - Global Hunger Article)

People around the world should be clarified by all important facts about global hunger and its health risks. Therefore, people should know the outcome of hunger to solve the complex problem of hunger. We should take more attention of the problem and feel more responsible for people who are confronted with the “life's dark side” and who are in such vulnerable positions.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

It is not a new fact that there is a huge amount of people worldwide suffering from hunger. According to estimates by The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization approximately 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world (that is on in nine) were suffering from hunger in 2012-2014. Even more people (2 billion) are affected by hidden hunger. (Hunger Notes (2015) - World Hunger Education Service) But whose blame is it? There are many causes for hunger. Meanwhile health organizations, private individuals, and governments are trying to combat its rise as they become more and more aware of the global hunger misery.

1.2. Goal

People should know the issues of hunger and should be informed of its causes to fight it. Hunger and hidden hunger can have deep irreversible negative effects on people's health. People should be encouraged to communicate more about the “global hunger problem”. It is possible to bring hunger to an end. But it is time now to get the show on the road.(Welthungerhilfe Media Centre (2015) -The Challenge of Hidden Hunger)

1.3 Scope

Who or what is to be blamed for hunger? This report concentrates on four important causes for hunger, because there are many factors which can lead to hunger. It will refer to the word hunger, its causes and consequences. Therefor four causes will be explained in detail. Researches of the “World Food Programme (WFP)” bring to light that poverty is the principal cause of hunger. Furthermore a study of the “United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)” about world population trends describes the dramatic growth of the world population, which is another cause of global hunger. Another survey from the “United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)” mentions the problem of food waste primarily in rich countries. Last but not least the increasing demand for meat is another problem. This fact is published by the “Welthungerhilfe”. Finally the last sections of the paper include a discussion about a set of solution attempts to combat global hunger, followed by a recommendation what individuals should do in future in terms of the global hunger problem.

2. What is hunger?

According to Oxford Dictionaries hunger is: “A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with desire to eat. (Oxford Dictionaries) According to the Welternährungsorganisation (FAO) hunger is a quantitative term. Therefore hunger appears if the everyday energy supply is for a longer period not as much as required for a healthy body and active life. (Welthungerhilfe (2015) - Was ist Hunger?)

2.1 Health risks

When we speak of world hunger we mean basically malnutrition/ undernutrition. We may immediately think of lean and skinny people. There are two basic forms of malnutrition/ undernutrition.

On the one hand, there is protein-energy malnutrition. It is actually a shortage of calories and protein. In consequence some key body functions can get heavily endangered as essential amino acids are not provided.

Protein- energy malnutrition frequently leads to death entails growth failure. Accordingly there are two typical forms of growth failure:

Firstly there is so-called “wasting” (also called marasmus) or “nutritional edema (also called kwashiorkor). Whereas “wasting” is characterized by rapid weight loss frequently leads to death, “nutritional edema” is caused by insufficient protein in the diet.

Furthermore there is so-called “stunting” is a slow, cumulative process. It is mainly caused by inadequate intake of nutrients. According to the “United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)” approximately 161 million children worldwide are affected. At the same time, it must be mentioned these children may have normal looking bodies. As stunting develops over a long period of time, it is often overlooked. Therefore it is a quite dangerous form of malnutrition/undernutrition.

The second type of malnutrition is called micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency or better known as so-called Hidden Hunger”. As we mainly think of hunger in terms of energy deficits and thus of thin people, Hidden Hunger is often overlooked, though it can lead to quite dangerous irreversible health effect, too. It is estimated that about 2 billion people in the whole world are affected. In the long run, it can imply irreversible health effects and socioeconomic consequences, like mental impairment, poor health, low productivity and even death. That is to say, a person's welfare can be clearly disturbed.

Whereas some signs/ effects of hidden hunger, such as night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency, become visible, other ones are less obvious.

One more reason for Hidden hunger to be categorized as quite dangerous is, it can coexist with normal or even excessive consumption of dietary energy from macronutrients, like fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, hidden hunger can even exist in overweight- society.

Finally, when it comes to measure the hunger's state, the Global Hunger Index can manage remedy. Accordingly, there are three different indicators to measure hunger combined into one index within the Global Hunger Index (GHI).

Firstly there is the term of undernourishment. Therefore, the proportion of undernourished people as a percentage of the total population of country is measured.

Another indicator is the child underweight within countries. In this connection, the proportion of children who are younger than five and underweight is measured, as indicator of child undernutrition.

Last but not least the child mortality has to be mentioned. Therefore the mortality rate of children under the age of five is measured.

As the GHI involves the nutrition situation not only of the population as a whole, but also of children, for whom undernutrition and malnutrition leads to a set of health risks (That is, illness, poor physical and cognitive development, or even death), it provides a range of advantages. (Welthungerhilfe Media Centre(2015) - Global Hunger Index 2014)

Table/ Map 1: GHI, 2014

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source; International Food Policy Research institute. Concern Worldwide, Welthungerhilfe

(, 14.06.2015)

This map presents the Global Hunger Index for various developing countries worldwide. In this connection, the colors represent the severity of hunger. Considering the map, one can see that the global average of hunger obscures quite dramatic differences across countries. You can also see, the highest hunger levels are mainly in Africa south of the Sahara and in South Asia. Whereas a moderate hunger level is between 5.0 and 9.9, levels over 9.9 begin to be serious (10.0-19.9), alarming (20.0-29.0) and extremely alarming (over 30.0).

The ranking- list represents the alarming and extremely alarming ratings/ levels of hunger in the ten mostly affected countries in the world.

If we consider another table, you can see almost all the hungry people live in developing countries, representing 13.5 percent, or one in eight, of the population of developing countries. On the other hand you can also see that the world has made progress in reducing hunger since 1990. The global level has been reduced from 18.7% in 1990 down to 11.3% in 2012. The table shows that the developing regions have experienced the greatest absolute improvements, especially Africa south of the Sahara and Southern Asia.

Table/ Map 2: Undernourishment around the world, 1990-2 to 2014 Number of undernourished and prevalence (%) of undernourishment

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: FAO The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 p. 8

(See, es_the_world_produce_enough_food_to_feed_everyone, 14.06.2015)

3. Four different causes of hunger

Even though the world produces enough food to feed everyone there is still hunger. Even though in average, per capita food availability has increased from 2220 kcal/person/day to 2790 kcal/person/day there is still hunger. Although there is more food available (that is both, food availability and improved access to food) the great hunger problem is still not solved. Especially developing countries are unduly affected. Accordingly, the main problem, or rather the main cause of hunger is many people worldwide do not have enough money to purchase enough food.

3.1 Poverty as main problem

Poverty is mainly seen as the principal cause of hunger. The term of poverty involves poor people's lack of resources and an unduly unequally distributed proportion of incomeworldwide and within specific countries. Moreover, poverty can also derive from conflicts, wars and hunger itself.

According to the World Bank's estimations there were just over 1 billion poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.

Even though the number of people in extreme poverty has increased, so many people remain in poverty. (Hunger Notes (2015) -World Hunger Education Service)

People living in poverty cannot afford (enough) nutritious food. Subsequently they are much weaker and therefore less able to earn the money that would help them escape poverty and hunger. The poverty problem is comparable to a vicious circle. When children are malnourished or stunted in the long run, it can affect their future in terms of income. In consequence these people are condemned to life of poverty and hunger.

Another fact, published by the World Food Programme is that in developing countries, farmers often cannot afford seeds. Correspondingly they cannot plant the crops that would providently protect their families from suffering hunger. Furthermore these farmers may have to cultivate crops without the innovative tools and fertilizers that are common in developed countries. Some others again do not have access to land, water or education. To sum it up, in the short run, poor people are hungry. Their hunger in turn leads them into poverty. (World Food Programme (2015) -What causes hunger?)

Table/ Map 2:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(, 14.06.2015)

The table above shows that almost half the world, over three billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. As a consequence, at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.


Excerpt out of 16 pages


Global Hunger. Who or what is to be blamed for it?
University of Education Weingarten  (Englisch)
Academic Writing and Research
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Global Hunger, Academic writing and research, causes of hunger, who is to be blamed for hunger, what is to be blamed for hunger, poverty, world population growth, food waste, demand for meat, world food programme, united nations population fund, united nations environment programme, health risks of hunger, undernourishment
Quote paper
David Knobelspies (Author), 2015, Global Hunger. Who or what is to be blamed for it?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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