The Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the crisis, with nations out of work and losing their jobs, more and more are struggling to feed their families. As the world works together to fight this global pandemic, the fight to solve world hunger has come to a halt. The world is getting hungrier and hungrier, with each year the problem grows and the numbers soar.
Starvation is a global crisis affecting all corners of the world. The world hunger average is 8.9%, Africa more than doubles this, with 19.1% of their population suffering from malnutrition. Asia is still the continent with the highest count of world hunger, with 381 million people undernourished.
For those living with food insecurity, hunger is not the only problem they face. Starvation can lead to a whole host of additional physical illnesses and problems. Those who lack access to a balanced nutritional diet tend to have weak immune systems, as a result, they are more prone to sickness and their bodies will struggle to fight even slight infections and illness, and sometimes a minor illness like the common cold can be life-threatening.
Pregnant women who are undernourished are at huge risk, causing severe health problems for both themselves and their unborn children. Babies born into food insecurity have an increased risk of birth defects and will struggle to develop. Nutrients are essential for growth, children who do not have access to these will suffer greatly, often experiencing stunted growth both physically and mentally. Other common health issues that develop from food insecurity are anaemia, diabetes, hypertension and oral health problems.
Hunger does not just have a physical impact on the body, it also has a massive impact on the mind. Undernourishment can severely affect the development of a young child’s brain and can often lead to cognitive problems later in life. One of the biggest issues facing young children living with food insecurity is underperforming in education. More and more reports are showing us that hunger is having a profoundly negative impact on a child’s ability to learn. When you are hungry, you cannot think about anything else other than food, pair that with the emotional distress that comes with hunger, how can a child be expected to learn whilst living in these conditions.
Mental health amongst children and adults is hugely affected by food insecurity. Most individuals facing this unfortunate reality feel alone and isolated, which can send them on a downward spiral to depression. They also experience increased levels of anxiety which makes the idea of accessing help and support incredibly difficult.
Food insecurity is a growing problem, it’s not going away and will continue to grow if we don’t start taking some serious action. It’s time for us to come together so we can start putting an end to global hunger.
No one should have to live in hunger. Our Fill a Basket project helps deliver food to those who need it most around the world. We provide food packs and hot meals full of nutrition to vulnerable and needy families in the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our rice distribution is primarily carried out in Gambia and Senegal, where rice is considered a diet staple. For Pakistan, we distribute flour bags. We believe that everyone should be able to fulfil their basic human needs. Through our Fill a Basket food appeal, we want to give adults and children around the world opportunity to reach their full potential, providing them with full bellies and a nutritional diet that means they can live life to the fullest.