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Food & Hunger

Hunger - 10 things you thought you knew

Hunger is one of the biggest issues facing the world community, but there are many misconceptions about the issue and how to tackle it. Below we will expose the  realities of 10 prevalent myths about hunger:

Myth 1: Too many people go hungry in my own country for me to worry about hunger abroad.

Reality: One in seven people in the world are hungry, which means one in seven people can’t create, study, or reach their full potential as human beings. That affects all of us. Hunger slows progress on other important areas that connect nations, including security.

Myth 2: There are more pressing global issues than hunger.

Reality: When populations are hungry, economies suffer, people fight, and farmers can’t grow their crops effectively. We need to tackle hunger to be able to resolve environmental, economic, and security issues.

Myth 3: There isn’t enough food to feed the world.

Reality: There is enough food to feed the world but because of bad governance and lack of effective distribution millions go hungry. To change this we need to support small scale farmers and make sure that food security is high on the global agenda..

Myth 4: Resolving hunger means ensuring people have enough to eat.

Reality: Hunger isn’t just about quantity of food, it’s about quality. If you give someone a bowl of rice for 3 meals a day, will they be hungry how we understand the word? Probably not. But will they be nourished? Will they have the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to be able to grow properly, think clearly and progress? Definitely not. Good nutrition means having the right combination of nutrients and calories needed for healthy development and this is especially important for infants, pregnant women and young children to ensure proper development.

Myth 5: Droughts and other natural disasters are to blame for hunger.

Reality: Nature is only one factor that affects global hunger. It is true that weather and wildlife can always cause havoc on crops, but communities that are able to build irrigation systems, storage facilities, and roads to connect them to markets are able to improve harvests. This means people can survive even during times of drought. The proportion of food crises that are linked to human causes has more than doubled since 1992.  Conflict is often at the heart of today’s worst food crises.

Myth 6: Hunger exists when food is unavailable in shops and markets.

Reality: People can go hungry even when there's plenty of food around. Often it's a question of access - they can’t afford food or they can’t get to local markets. One way we can help is through cash transfers and electronic vouchers, which give people the ability to buy nutritious foods in local markets.

Myth 7: All of the world’s hungry live in Africa.

Reality: Of the world’s nearly one billion hungry, over half live in Asia and the Pacific. Hunger is also a relevant issue in the United States, where 50 million Americans are food insecure.

Myth 8: Hunger and famine are not easy to predict and can't be prepared for.

Reality: Tools exist to monitor and predict trends in food production as well as food prices. For example, the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) analyzes meteorological and economic factors to alert the world to the possibility of hunger hotspots and famine.

Myth 9: Hunger is only a health issue.

Reality: This issue also affects education and the economy. Hungry children struggle to focus, learn, or even attend school. Without education, it's much harder for them to grow up and contribute to the growth of the national economy. A study in Guatemala found that boys who received fortified food before the age of three grew up to have wages 46 percent higher than those in a control group.

Myth 10: People are only hungry during emergencies or disasters.

Reality: Emergencies only account for eight percent of the world’s hungry. There are close to one billion hungry people in the world who do not make the headlines and yet they go to bed hungry every night. This is why long-term efforts like school meals programmes are so important.