MADRID, September 23 (IPS) – Have you eaten today – or are you sure you will? The answer depends on where you were born and where you currently live. If you are Hispanic or live here, you probably did or will, provided you are not one of the 900,000 inhabitants of this European country who are facing some kind of hunger, malnutrition. undernourished or malnourished.
Instead, if you are among the 550 million plus Africans, suffer moderate hunger (40% of the continent’s total population is 1,300 plus) or severe hunger (about 300 million or 24% of the total population) Africa), your answer would be that you are likely to –or certainly – go to bed hungry… also today.
A similar dark fate prevails in other ‘developing’ regions, often identified as low- and middle-income countries. In Asia, with close to 10% or about 500 million population combined with nearly 5 billion people, accounting for 60% of the world population.
In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, the proportion of people falling into moderate to severe hunger and food insecurity amounts to 9% of the region’s 550 million population.
For comparison, such numbers reach only 2.5% of the population of North America (600 million) and Europe (750 million).
To summarize: it is estimated that between 702 and 828 million people in the world (8.9% and 10.5% of the total population, respectively) face hunger by 2021.
Too many explanations, the same consequences
These are numbers, numbers. The reality is that a billion humans right now are living in the darkness of food scarcity, if ever there is no food.
For them, whether the mainstream media pretends that their fate is caused by a war or the usual speculation and greed drive food prices up.
Many of the millions of hungry people probably don’t know that the world has produced enough food to meet all the needs of Planet Earth’s population.
Nor does it mean that more than a third of all food production is wasted, dumped in the trash, and lost in inadequate storage facilities.
No matter what, the international scientific community is warning every day that climate change, severe droughts, catastrophic floods and other factors cause severe funding shortfalls to save lives while fueling armed conflicts and unprecedented spending on weapons of mass destruction (over US$2 trillion by 2021) See: New world record: More weapons than ever. And a famine crisis like none
What is food insecurity?
Food security is defined as access to adequate food in terms of both quality and quantity.
Moderate food insecurity: People with moderate food insecurity face uncertainty about their ability to obtain food and are forced to compromise on food availability. the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.
Severe food insecurity: People who experience severe food insecurity often run out of food and, at worst, skip eating for a day (or days).
“The world is going in the wrong direction,” confirms the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which –among other international organizations– just released the figures cited above in their 2022 report: Situation of food security and nutrition in the world.
The new estimates for 2021 show that the rate of moderate or severe food insecurity has remained unchanged from 2020, the FAO reported, adding that “severe food insecurity has already passed. increased, providing further evidence of worsening conditions mainly for those already facing severe hardship”.
“In 2021, an estimated 29.3 percent of the global population – 2.3 billion people – are moderately or severely food insecure, and 11.7 percent (923.7 million people) are facing serious food insecurity”.
“Ten of the world’s worst climate hotspots – those with the highest number of UN protests due to extreme weather events – experienced a 123% increase in severe hunger only within the past six years”, according to one Oxfam’s report on September 16, 2022.
The gender gap is widening in food insecurity. In 2021, 31.9% of the world’s women are moderately or severely food insecure compared with 27.6% of men – a gap of more than 4 percentage points, compared with 3 percentage points. in 2020, according to the report.
The latest estimates for low birth weight show that 14.6% of babies (20.5 million) were born with low birth weight in 2015, slightly down from 17.5% (22.9 million) in 2000.
Optimal breastfeeding practices, including exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, are important for infant survival and promoting health and cognitive development.
But it is not so. In fact, the world’s leading child and health organizations have once again sounded the alarm about what they classify as “Shocking, insidious, exploitative, aggressive, misleading and pervasive” marketing tactics used by infant formula businesses for the sole purpose of increasing, even more, their already high profits.
In fact, FAO reports that globally, prevalence has increased from 37.1% (49.9 million) in 2012 to 43.8% (59.4 million) in 2020. However, more than one Half of all babies under six months of age globally are unprotected. The benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, according to the report, add to the following:
Stunting status, being too low for age reduces children’s physical and cognitive development, increases the risk of death from common infections, and is prone to overweight and non-fatal diseases. later infection.
Child wasting is a life-threatening condition caused by inadequate intake of nutrients, malabsorption of nutrients, and/or frequent or prolonged illness. Affected children are dangerously thin with weakened immunity and a higher risk of death. The wasting rate among children under 5 years old is 6.7% (45.4 million) in 2020.
Children who are overweight or obese face both immediate and long-term health effects, including a higher risk of noncommunicable diseases later in life.
Globally, the prevalence of overweight among children under the age of 5 increased slightly from 5.4 percent (33.3 million) in 2000 to 5.7 percent (38.9 million) in 2020. The upward trend was found in about half of all countries worldwide.
Anemia: The prevalence of anemia in women aged 15 to 49 years was estimated to be 29.9% in 2019.
The number of women with absolute anemia has steadily increased from 493 million in 2000 to 570.8 million in 2019, which has an impact on morbidity and mortality among women and can lead to abnormal outcomes. beneficial for pregnancy and infants.
Globally, adult obesity rates nearly doubled in absolute terms from 8.7 percent (343.1 million) in 2000 to 13.1 percent (675.7 million) in 2016.
Children in rural areas and poorer households are more susceptible to stunting and emaciation. Children and adults, especially women, in urban areas and affluent households, respectively, are at higher risk of being overweight and obese.
Infants living in rural areas, in poorer households, with mothers with no formal education, and female infants are more likely to be breastfed. Women without formal education are prone to anemia and their children are stunted and emaciated.
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service