Facts About Hunger

Defining Hunger

In order to help fight global hunger, you should first know what hunger means. Many words that describe global hunger or malnutrition are often incorrectly used interchangeably. We use the following definitions when talking about our work against hunger:

  • Hunger: Although "hunger" has a subjective sense - one can be hungry but well fed, or on the other hand, a malnourished child may feel no hunger - Action Against Hunger uses "hunger" to denote its more objective sense: Hunger is any caloric intake below the minimum established by the U.N. World Food Program of 2000 calories/day.
  • Famine is the absolute unavailability or inaccessibility of food in a given region, possibly causing death in the short term.
  • Malnutrition is a broad term for a wide range of conditions that hinder good health, caused by an inadequate or unbalanced food intake.
  • Chronic malnutrition is a condition that usually occurs gradually and can last generations. Chronic malnutrition is common in developing countries and is the consequence of an unbalanced diet lacking in fundamental nutrients and leading to nutritional deficiency.
  • Acute malnutrition is a condition that occurs suddenly and to a dangerous extent as the result of a severe lack of food. Acute malnutrition provokes diseases and leads to death if intense treatment is not administered immediately. Acute malnutrition can take two forms: moderate or severe malnutrition.
  • Food security is a situation during which all people, at all times, have access economically, socially and physically to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that satisfies their nutritional needs and dietary preferences.
  • Food insecurity is the lack of the conditions that define food security.

As tomorrow’s world leaders, you and your peers have the unique ability to be powerful agents of change. With drive, determination and passion, you can make things happen—not just on a local level but across the globe as well. The first step to help solve hunger issues is to educate you and your peers about the meaning of hunger.