This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Hunger is on the Rise

Last week the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) issued its latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World. Its conclusions were not good, as Reuters noted:
World hunger rose in 2017 for a third consecutive year, fueled by conflict and climate change, the United Nations warned on Tuesday, jeopardizing a global goal to end the scourge by 2030.
Hunger appears to be increasing in almost all of Africa and in South America, with 821 million people - one in nine - going hungry in 2017, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018 report.
Meanwhile, 672 million adults - more than one in eight - are now obese, up from 600 million in 2014.
The rise in hunger is obviously troubling, since we had experienced several years of a falling number and percent of the world's population being hungry, as you can see in the graph below.

The rise in obesity could seem a bit odd, since you might attribute that to over-eating, rather than hunger.  The FAO concludes, however, that this is part of the nutrition transition that has been afflicting the entire planet for the past several decades:
These effects reinforce the already ongoing dietary transition away from a healthy traditional local diet to a greater dependency on imported foods and beverages, often high in fat, sugar and salt, leading to an increase in overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable disease (NCDs).
The only good news coming out of the report was that, so far at least, the rise in hunger has not been associated with a rise in child stunting or wasting. 

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