12 World Hunger Facts (And Ideas to Make a Difference!)
When was the last time you went to bed hungry?
Yet tonight, nearly 820 million people will go to bed hungry, without the food and nutrition they need. That’s enough people to fill the largest NFL stadium over 9,000 times!
Here’s what you need to know about world hunger—and ways you can make a difference!
- Facts about World Hunger
- World hunger continues to rise, with the number of undernourished people in the world increasing since 2015 and back up to levels seen in 2010.
- One in every nine people goes to bed hungry each night.
- Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.
- 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
- Hunger is on the rise in almost all African subregions, making Africa the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, at almost 20 percent.
- One in seven newborns, or 20.5 million babies globally, suffered from low birthweight in 2015; no progress has been made in reducing low birthweight since 2012.
- Maternal and child undernutrition contributes to 45 percent of deaths in children under five. This means every 10 seconds a child dies from hunger.
- 17.2 percent of the world population, or 1.3 billion people, have experienced food insecurity at moderate levels. This means that they do not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food.
- Up to one-third of the food produced around the world is never consumed.
- More than half of the hungry people in the world live in countries affected by conflict.
- Hunger has been on the rise in countries where the economy has slowed down or contracted. The uneven pace of global economic recovery raises concerns regarding prospects for ending hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.
- The world produces enough food for everyone to live a healthy, productive life. This means the challenge isn’t a lack of food but making it consistently available to those who need it.
How should we respond?
While these facts might captivate our hearts and fill us with empathy, how many of us will continue on our way, eat our dinner and go to bed with a full stomach? How we view the blessings we’ve been given can make a dramatic impact in our lives and how we handle devastating facts like these.
Teach Your Family about Gratitude
One practical way to respond is by teaching your family about gratitude and generosity. By investing in conversations about the world and poverty, you can train your children to understand that everything they have been given (including food) is a gift from God, and not something to be taken for granted. Not every family can drive up to a restaurant, place their order, and have a warm meal in a few minutes!
Take a few moments to remind your children of this and thank God for the blessings he has given to your family. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but build these gentle reminders into the fabric of your family and see God use it to transform how you think about the world!
Have a Global Worldview
It can be easy to be so focused on what’s going around you with work, family life, school, activities, and sports—and forget that there are people around the world who live differently and have different struggles. That’s why it’s important to invest the effort into having a global worldview. This might look different for each family, but do what you can to model for your kids a broader outlook on the world as a whole.
Here a few ideas:
- Get your groceries at a local ethnic market
- Meet a family from another country and invite them over for dinner
- Read books as a family about other cultures
- Sponsor a child in another country
Take Action to Fight World Hunger
In Mark 12, Jesus and his disciples sit in the synagogue and watch as people give their tithes. Some people give large amounts, but a widow comes and gives two small copper coins. Jesus responds, saying, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
God doesn’t call us to do everything. He simply calls us to be faithful with what we’ve been given. Encourage your family to do what you can to love and support those struggling with hunger around the world. This might mean doing a lemonade stand with your kids and giving the profit to an organization fighting against hunger. Or sponsoring a child to make a difference in the life of a child, their family, and their community.
These sobering statistics about world hunger aren’t the end of the story. God is working through the generosity of individuals and the faithfulness of many organizations to not only provide for the physical needs of these people but also to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
One day the words of Isaiah 55:1-2 will be fulfilled, ”Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”