New Delhi: The number of people facing chronic food deprivation in the world rose for the third consecutive year to 821 million in 2017, returning to decade-ago levels, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nation said in a report released on Tuesday.

The rise was driven by extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods, and conflict and economic slowdown, said the report titled State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018.

According to the FAO, while the situation in worsening in South America and most regions of Africa, the decreasing trend of undernourishment in Asia is also slowing down significantly.

Without increased efforts, the world will fall far short of achieving the target of eradicating hunger by 2030, according to the report.

Estimates put out by the report showed that the share of undernourished people in the world population, or the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU), was likely to have reached 10.9% in 2017.

While the PoU was as high as 20.4% in Africa, it was 5.4% in Latin America and 11.4% in Asia.

According to the report, India is home to 195.9 million undernourished people, around 24% of the world’s hungry. Prevalence of undernourishment in India is 14.8%, higher than both the global and Asian average.

The report termed as ‘shameful’ the fact that one in three women of reproductive age globally was affected by anaemia, with significant health and development consequences for both women and their children.

According to the report, the prevalence of anaemia among women of reproductive age went up from 30.3% in 2012 to 32.8% in 2016 with no region showing a decline. In India, 51.4% women of the reproductive age suffer from anaemia, the report said.

The report further said that while the global proportion of overweight children was relatively stagnant-- 5.4% in 2012 and 5.6% in 2017— adult obesity rates rose every year, from 11.7% in 2012 to 13.2% in 2016. in 2017 more than one in eight adults, or more than 672 million, in the world was obese, the report said.

The report urged national governments to pay special attention to groups most vulnerable due to poor food access: infants, children aged under five, school-aged children, adolescent girls, and women.

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