October 13, 2014 11:34

2014 Global Hunger Index focuses on Hidden Hunger

Two billion people suffer from hidden hunger according to the 2014 Global Hunger Index. Food quality is just as important as quantity.

The number of hungry people in the world remains an affront to humanity: about 805 million, or one in nine people worldwide, go to bed hungry every night. More astonishingly, two billion people suffer from a form of hunger that we often overlook: hidden hunger, also known as micronutrient deficiency

The good news in this year’s Global Hunger Index is that the number of people going hungry has steadily decreased in most developing countries. Since 1990, hunger in the developing world has fallen by 39 percent, and 26 countries have reduced their scores by 50 percent or more.  Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chad, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand, and Vietnam have seen the greatest improvements in their scores between the 1990 GHI and the 2014 GHI.  The bad news is that levels of hunger are still “alarming” in 14 countries, and “extremely alarming” in two, Burundi and Eritrea. 

The economic costs of all forms of micronutrient deficiency can be considerable while the return on investment in nutrition can be high: For instance, IFPRI researchers found that every dollar invested in salt iodization generates up to $81 in benefits. In 2008, the Copenhagen Consensus Expert Panel ranked Vitamin A and zinc supplements for children, iron and iodine fortification, and biofortification among the top five best investments for economic development.

Possible solutions to hidden hunger include dietary diversification, which requires long-term, sustained, and coordinated efforts to make a lasting difference. In the short term, vitamin and mineral supplements can help vulnerable populations combat hidden hunger.

Governments and multilateral institutions need to invest in and develop human and financial resources, increase coordination, and ensure transparent monitoring and evaluation to build capacity on nutrition.

From October 13 onwards, the 2014 Global Hunger Index will be launched internationally and discussed with stakeholders, media, and the public. Alliance2015 also presents two launches, one in Brussels on
October 14th and one in Bamako, Mali on October 15th 2014.

Many other launch events took place and will take place in Paris, Dublin, Berlin, Milan, Prague, London, Washington D.C., Belfast, Cambodia and other places.

For more information, please see the full report and a shorter synopsis, and the press briefing page which includes the press release and factsheet on the report’s findings in Africa south of the Sahara, Asia, and worldwide.  

 

Background information: IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington D.C.), Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe launch the ninth Global Hunger Index (GHI) this week. The GHI measures and tracks hunger globally, by region and country and scores them based on three equally weighted indicators: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the mortality rate of children under five. The report highlights successes and failures in hunger reduction, provides insights into the drivers of hunger, and makes policy recommendations on how to improve food and nutrition security.