World Hunger: A Vicious Cycle


Overview:  Hunger is the feeling one experience with a lack of food, the “persistent gnawing condition resulting from a lack of adequate food intake, which prevents one form working of thinking correctly.”  Starvation is the most severe case of the condition of hunger.  Starvation and hunger, if not combated, lead certainly to malnutrition.  Malnutrition is the condition resulting from a lack of life sustaining vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. 

Up to one billion people worldwide consume less than the minimum critical daily caloric intake needed to avoid hunger. 

Hunger is most severe in the poorest parts of the world.  Africa, India, Pakistan and Indonesia have the largest percentage of hungry people of all the countries in the world. 

In Africa in particular, hunger and disease are a vicious cycle.  Hunger, along with many other effects causes the immune system to weaken, making the body more susceptible to other diseases.  These diseases, including AIDS, kill the older generation of people, the ‘bread winners’ and those who work in the fields to grow the food.  When those people die, only the younger generations of children are left to fend for themselves and because they lack the care of a parent or adult, they are unable to sustain themselves with sufficient food intake.   Also, because the infant mortality rate in third world countries is so high, families have large numbers of children to increase the chance that some will survive.  By doing this, however, there are more mouths to feed and subsequently more hungry people in the world.  Furthermore, malnutrition slows the intellectual development of children and young adults, and therefore, the problems of hunger and disease in third world countries cannot be solved internally but need outside influence and aid.  The UN and other world hunger organizations offer significant economic and medical aid to these countries to help stamp out hunger.

Hunger is not a problem because the world food production is not enough to feed all of the people in the world; it is a problem because the food is not distributed equally among all of the countries and people in the world.  Third world countries that have a great percentage of the population starving do not have the resources to obtain or grow food.  These countries also have a lower standard of living than second of first world countries, as well as a non-existent economic infrastructure, or it one does exist, it is unstable.  These factors also have an impact on a country’s technological capabilities.  See hunger map for world starvation figures and estimates.  

If all the food in the world were divided equally among all the people in the world, each person would get three times the minimum amount needed to survive.  If there was a feasible way to accomplish this enormous task, the solution to world hunger would be found.  Until then, charities and donations must aid the organizational fight against world hunger.









Primary Documents: – a witness reporter’s account of their stay in Zimbabwe, where the need for food aid is very great


Key People, Events, Places

Picture Gallery


http://www.starvation.netby, to-the-minute information on the starvation crisis in many third world countries worldwide, including to-the-second statistics – National Association for the Prevention of Starvation home site containing information of how to aid in the cause to eliminate starvation;  - both of these sites contain information on the perils of Africa including starvation and aids – Action against Hunger site for efforts to save millions of people a year from starvation – a site for statistics about world hunger; also, donate here towards the starve out hunger cause – site that investigates the question, “What can one person do about hunger? – World Food Programme site