800 million people continue to go to bed hungry each night. This means that one in nine inhabitants of our planet do not have access to the nutrients and vitamins essential for proper development and health.
The vast majority of the world’s chronically hungry and undernourished population live in the developing world: 780 million people, or almost 96 percent. In turn, the Caribbean, Oceania, Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa are home to the majority of these, with, 281 million hungry people living in Southern Asia alone. In sub-Saharan Africa, 23 percent of the population is chronically hungry and undernourished. With ongoing famine in this area, the problem has reached crisis proportions and shows no sign of abating.
As with many issues that are exacerbated by extreme poverty, it is often the youngest and most vulnerable whom are hurt the most. Children are disproportionately affected by food and nutrition shortages. As of 2015, 90 million children under the age of five—one in seven worldwide—were underweight. Ninety percent of the world’s hungry children live in just two regions: Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Living with chronic hunger and malnutrition puts children at risk of dying from common colds and infection. And even if children do recover from these diseases, their recovery times are often delayed.
Stunting is even more common than being underweight in the developing world. Globally, 160 million children have inadequate growth and height due to chronic hunger and malnutrition. In the developing world, children from the poorest families fare much worse than those from the wealthiest households; those in the bottom quintile of households are twice as likely to be stunted as those in the top quintile.
The Life You Can Save’s recommended nonprofit organizations work to combat inequalities in food supply and distribution and the underlying structures that lead to inadequate nutrition. These organizations' innovative and research-backed initiatives have brought improved crops, nourishing meals and vital nutrients to some of the world’s neediest communities and families.