• 1.02 billion people do not have enough to eat – more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union;
    (Source: FAO news release, 19 June 2009)
  • The number of undernourished people in the world increased by 75 million in 2007 and 40 million in 2008, largely due to higher food prices;
    (Source: FAO news release, 9 Dec 2008)
  • 907 million people in developing countries alone are hungry;
    (Source: The State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2008)
  • Asia and the Pacific region is home to over half the world’s population and nearly two thirds of the world’s hungry people;
    (Source: The State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2008)
  • More than 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women;
    (Source: The State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2006)
  • 65 percent  of the world’s hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia.
    (Source: The State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2008)


  • Every six seconds a child dies because of hunger and related causes;
    (Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2004)
  • More than 70 percent of the world’s 146 million underweight children under age five years live in just 10 countries, with more than 50 per cent located in South Asia alone;
    (Source: Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition, UNICEF, 2006)
  • 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths;
    (Source: The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • The cost of undernutrition to national economic development is estimated at US$20-30 billion per annum;
    (Source: Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition, UNICEF, 2006)
  • One out of four children – roughly 146 million – in developing countries are underweight;
    (Source: The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • Every year WFP feeds more than 20 million children in school feeding programmes in some 70 countries. In 2008, WFP fed a record 23 million children.
    (Source: WFP School Feeding Unit)


  • It is estimated that 684,000 child deaths worldwide could be prevented by increasing access to vitamin A and zinc
    (Source: WFP Annual Report 2007)
  • Undernutrition contributes to 53 percent of the 9.7 million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries. This means that one child dies every six seconds from malnutrition and related causes.
    (Source: Under five deaths by cause, UNICEF, 2006)
  • Lack of Vitamin A kills a million infants a year
    (Source: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency, A Global Progress Report, UNICEF)
  • Iron deficiency is the most prevalent form of malnutrition worldwide, affecting an estimated 2 billion people.6 Eradicating iron deficiency can improve national productivity levels by as much as 20 percent.
    (Source: World Health Organization, WHO Global Database on Anaemia)
  • Iron deficiency is impairing the mental development of 40-60 percent children in developing countries
    (Source: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency, A Global Progress Report, p2, UNICEF)
  • Iodine deficiency is the greatest single cause of mental retardation and brain damage. Worldwide, 1.9 billion people are at risk of iodine deficiency, which can easily be prevented by adding iodine to salt
    (Source:  UN Standing Committee on Nutrition. World Nutrition Situation 5th report. 2005)
  • WFP-supported deworming reached 10 million children in 2007
    (Source: WFP Annual Performance Report 2007)



  • In a 1970 UN Resolution, most industrialised nations committed themselves to tackling global poverty by spending 0.7 percent of their national incomes on international aid by 1975. Only Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark regularly meet his target
    (Source: DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) facts map, 2006-2007)
  • The 22 member countries of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, the world’s major donors, provided USD 103.9 billion in aid in 2006 – down by 5.1 percent from 2005
    (Source: OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007)
  • The largest donors were the United States (US$24 billion), Japan (US$18 billion), the United Kingdom (US$13 billion), Germany and France (US$12 billion each), the Netherlands (nearly US$6 billion), Spain and Italy (just over US$4 billion each) representing 80 percent of the total
    (Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007)

From United Nations World Food Programme

There are three vital hunger-related bills you should know about right now. The first is the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act of 2009. This would extend, and make permanent, a tax incentive for farmers to donate excess food inventory to charity. The second is the School Food Recovery Act, which will allow schools to donate excess food to food banks. The third, and most important, is a bill to amend the National School Lunch Act, which serves more than 30 million children nationwide. A reauthorization of the school lunch act is required every five years and is scheduled to be voted on in early 2010. Sens. Michael Bennet, Sherrod Brown, and Bob Casey are co-sponsoring an act they would like incorporated into the renewal—the Hunger Free Schools Act, which claims to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles in the school lunch program and serve an additional 3 million children in need.

President Obama made a pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015. In order to do this, the administration and Congress must ensure funding and support for food banks and nutrition programs. Understanding and advocating for the importance of hunger prevention and relief programs is one of the most important things you can do to make sure this happens. It may sound trite, but contact your representatives and let them know your concerns about hunger on a local and national level. Follow upcoming legislation and find more ways to advocate for change at Feeding America’s online Hunger Action Center.- By Sandy Stonesifer