Even after a good school lunch, many children get the urge to snack when they arrive home and get started on homework. For many of us, satisfying after-school hunger pains is as simple as opening the refrigerator.
For millions of people around the world, though, things aren't that easy. Hunger continues to be a problem faced by people everywhere, including people in your own community. What would you do if your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets were empty?
Experts believe that there is enough food in the world today to feed everyone. Yet millions of people go to bed hungry every night because they don't have the food their bodies need. Not getting enough food to meet your body's minimum requirements for good health results in undernourishment.
Some people estimate there are as many as 925 million undernourished people around the world. Chronic (ongoing) undernourishment leads to malnutrition. This takes the form of extreme weight loss, stunted growth and frequent infections and diseases.
Hunger has many causes. Natural disasters and other major emergencies can often cause widespread hunger. However, these types of events usually trigger aid from around the world that can make hunger just a short-term problem.
Long-term hunger usually has deeper roots. Poverty, poor farming methods, economic crises, corrupt food distribution networks and even governmental interference are some of the major causes of long-term, ongoing problems with hunger. There may be as many as 1 billion hungry people in the world suffering as a result of these types of issues.
Although progress has been made in fighting hunger from time to time, the global economic downturn that began in 2008 has led to a marked increase in hunger worldwide. Today, one out of every seven people in the world does not have enough food to live a healthy life. This makes hunger and malnutrition the greatest risk to health in the world.