Nutrition is one of the most critical factors necessary for a child to grow and live a healthy life. Unfortunately, global hunger is a real problem that affects over 19 million children all over the world. If a child does not have access to proper nutrition in early childhood, it prevents their organs from growing properly and functioning correctly. Additionally, good food contributes to cognitive and neurological development and a well-functioning immune system.
If a child is well-nourished, they can function better in daily life, such as when learning new subjects or skills in a classroom. Their critical thinking is also not impaired when they are undernourished as well.
By improving a child’s nutrition, multiple factors will enhance the child’s life and society as a whole. For example, their survival rates increase, and they can contribute to their communities, educational institutions, and personal development.
However, child hunger is rampant all over the world. As unfortunate as it is, we must confront its realities so that those of us in positions of privilege can take steps towards making a difference and easing this issue.
Here is a list of world child hunger facts:
Data from Feed the Children has provided us with several facts that are worth knowing about.
- As of 2016, over 5.6 million children have died. All of those children were under the age of 5.
- In Africa, the risk of a child dying before turning six is the highest in the world. It is also eight times higher than any European country.
- As of 2018, over 3 million children die of undernutrition every year.
- When taking stunting into consideration, we must remember that stunting is often a result of hunger and malnutrition. In Asia is where half the stunted population of children live. Additionally, over one-third of children who are stunted live in various parts of Africa.
- It is also important to note that the number of children whose growth is stunted has declined significantly between the years 2000 and 2017 by over 10%.
- Unfortunately, certain regions in Central and West Africa have seen an increase in children whose growth has been stunted.
- In a 2010 study conducted by Glicken, M.D., researchers found that children without access to proper nutrition and healthy food get sick much faster than children with access to food. These sick children can spend over 160 days suffering from an illness. The illness is worsened because of a lack of proper nutrition in the body. These illnesses include diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, and malaria.
- Children are at risk of contracting various diseases in low and middle-income countries or districts where food scarcity is at its highest—this food insecurity and inadequate nutrition among young children results in a weak immune system.
- In a UNICEF study conducted back in 2018, researchers discovered that a zinc deficiency found in lower-income countries has a highly negative impact on young children’s immune systems and gastrointestinal systems. This means that those children who have zinc deficiencies are at risk for death due to their poorly functioning immune systems.
- In the same UNICEF study, researchers also discovered that children whose diets lack a proper amount of iodine have poorly developed brains. In terms of percentages, these children make up about 30% of the world’s population.
In this article, we took you through a list of ten heartbreaking facts about world child hunger. It’s important to note that a lot of the data included in this article comes from the years between 2000 and 2018. Since then, as three years have passed, we can only assume that those numbers have grown and gotten worse with time. While it can be easy to over-buy groceries and throw food away, we’d encourage you not to overbuy food when you know that it will only go to waste. Please consider donating to an organization or charity that can help minimize the child hunger problem as well.