Background on Hunger

The world produces more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but nearly 1 billion people around the world suffer from hunger. Read on how this issue is the greatest risk to health worldwide. 

Hunger Causes

  • Poverty is the leading cause of hunger. One in four people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less.
  • Natural disasters like floods, tropical storms and droughts wipe out crops and cause super serious food shortages.
  • War moves thousands of people from their homes, leaving many without access to food supplies.
  • Many developing countries lack the tools and supplies needed to grow and transport their crops.
  • Rising temperatures are affecting crops and causing more droughts.


  • People can become malnourished even if they eat. This happens when food does not have enough vitamins and minerals.
  • A third of people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
  • Not enough vitamin A can cause blindness and retardation in children. 
  • Between 100 and 140 million children is vitamin A deficient.
  • Iodine deficiency in mothers during pregnancy can cause stillbirths and mental retardation. Fifty million people have mental impairment caused by a lack of iodine.

Hunger in the U.S.

  • Hunger in the U.S. is an issue of food insecurity.
  • Food insecurity is when a family does not have enough food because of a lack of money and other resources.
  • In the U.S., 35.5 million people live in food insecure households.
  • In 2011, 45 million people received food stamps. That is a 70 percent increase from 2007!
  • Kids suffering from hunger have higher levels of chronic illness, anxiety and depression than kids with no hunger.

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

World Health Organization