“More people have died of hunger in the past five years than have been killed in all wars, revolutions and murders in the past 150 years.” – The Hunger Primer (published 1983)
We spend a lot of time talking about eating healthy and making better food choices, but rarely do we hear about those whose only choice is whether or not to eat. Hunger is a monumental problem.
An estimated 1 billion people are in want of food or deal with a scarcity of food daily! That means that approximately 1 in 7 persons globally deals with the issue of hunger each and every day. What’s more, malnutrition and undernutrition are two entirely separate issues.
Children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. Poorly nourished children suffer up to 160 days of illness a year. Poor nutrition plays a role in almost half (5 million) of the 10.9 million child deaths a year.
The World Health Organization cites malnutrition as the single greatest threat to the world’s public health. Tomorrow is a day that 1 in 7 of us is at risk of never seeing because we aren’t getting enough to eat today. However, before you go off thinking that this is strictly a third world problem, we invite you consider the following:
Think back to the last time you saw someone standing on the street holding a sign like the one pictured above as you note these statistics.
- According to the most recent survey data available, 24.2% of children under the age of 18 in Arizona are food insecure. This means that they either do not have enough food to meet the recommended caloric intake of 2,400 calories per day or they do not know when or where their next meal will be.
- A staggering 20.5% of Arizona households reported not having enough money to buy the food they needed for themselves or their families during a 12 month period during the 2008 – 2009 calendar years.
Since its inception in 1981 the world has seen the observance of World Food Day. October 16 has been set aside as the day to acknowledge the need to end hunger and focus on raising global awareness of the issues surrounding food production and distribution. That’s a great goal, but with 30 years now invested, it can be unequivocally stated that the effort has failed miserably. The hunger pandemic continues to get worse with each passing year – all because of politics and commercialism and an inability to agree on what must be done to solve the problem.
While we understand the desire to make a difference we are hard pressed to believe that spending one day a year focusing on the problem does much to produce any lasting benefit. What happens for the other 364 days a year when no one is talking about it, or at the very least thinking about it?
We do not believe that any significant or lasting result will come from current attempts to focus on the singular issue of hunger. But that doesn’t leave us without hope. We spend each day doing our part to work toward a better future, one that offers hope to the hungry, malnourished and undernourished among us.
What about you?