New Delhi: After a prolonged period of decline, global hunger (measured by the number of undernourished people) is on the rise again, posing a challenge to international goals of eradicating hunger by 2030, said a United Nations report published on Friday.
According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 report, the number of undernourished people in the world increased to an estimated 815 million in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015. Data from the report showed that India is home to 190.7 million of them—a 14.5% prevalence of hunger vis-a-vis its total population.
The data further showed that 38.4% of children under five in India are stunted, while 51.4% of women in reproductive ages are anemic. The report defines stunting as the result of long-term nutritional deprivation which may affect mental development, school performance and intellectual capacity.
Prevalence of child stunting in India at 38.4% compares with 14.7% in Sri Lanka and 9.4% in China. Data from the report also showed that while the number of children in India who are stunted fell from 62 million in 2005 to 47.5 million in 2016, the number of adults who are overweight rose from 14.6 million in 2015 to 29.8 million in 2014.
Globally, the prevalence of undernourishment (as a percentage of population) remains the highest in sub-Saharan Africa and needs urgent attention in eastern Africa, the report said. It added that owing to a large population the highest number of undernourished live in Asia, followed by 243 million in Africa and 42 million in Latin America.
The report further said that the food security situation has worsened in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, south-eastern Asia and western Asia, and deterioration has been observed mostly in situations of conflict, and conflict combined with droughts or floods.
According to the report, global prevalence of obesity more than doubled between 1980 and 2014. More than 600 million people in 2014, or 13% of the world’s adult population, were obese, it said, adding that adult obesity is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular ailments and diabetes.