The single biggest solvable problem facing the world today

Here’s a bunch of interesting facts that I just learnt from WFP (World Food Programme). As part of the article they make a big claim that “hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today” – the remarkable thing about this claim is that they say that hunger is “solvable”. You don’t really hear that too often, but it is exciting to hear this positive spin on the state of world, rather than the ‘doom and gloom’ that we often hear.

Some of these facts are a bit ‘doom and gloom’, but some definitely give hope that hunger is in fact solvable – like the fact that I can make a difference with only 25 CENTS a day – that’s around $7.50 per month to give a child a chance at a healthy life. And maybe something surprising for all us relatively comfortable Aussies – most of the world’s hungry people live on our door step – in the South Pacific (not Africa as most may think).

The facts:

Approximately 925 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That means that one in every seven people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night.(Source: FAO News Release, 2012).

Well over half of the world’s hungry people–some 578 million people–live in Asia and the Pacific region. Africa accounts for just over one quarter of the world’s hungry population.(Source: FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2010).

Hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. (Source: UNAIDS global report, 2010; WHO World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2011).

A third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries are linked to undernutrition. (Source: UNICEF Report on Child Nutrition, 2006).

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy through age two, are the critical window in which to tackle undernutrition. A proper diet in this period can protect children from the mental and physical stunting that can result from malnutrition. (Source: UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, 2009).

It costs just US $0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy.(Source: WFP, 2011).

Malnourished mothers often give birth to underweight babies who are 20 per cent more likely to die before the age of five. Up to 17 million children are born underweight every year. (Source: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007).

If “hunger is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today” then maybe its time take some (more) action to be part of the solution. As well as donating, WFP have a stack of clever ways to help, some of them cost you NOTHING but your time, like the idea in the video above – here’s a few more:

Take the Quiz – Feed a Child:

If you answer six IQ questions about hunger, one child will receive a warm meal.

Making a difference has never been so easy. Start the quiz!

FreeRice: Play the game that has become a worldwide phenomenon, where every right answer donates rice to people in need! It’s super easy and kinda fun – We donated 300 grains of rice in about 5 minutes!

Play Freerice and feed the hungry

WeFeedback: You choose your favorite food, put it into the Feedback Calculator along with the estimated cost, and then calculate how many hungry children this would feed. The next step is to donate exactly that amount.

Share food, change lives

Fill The Cup: Porridge, rice or beans — it takes just 25 cents to fill one of the Red Cups that WFP uses to give hungry kids regular school meals. US$50 feeds a child for an entire school year.

Help end child hunger

Like your ice cream?

I thought I would leave you with one more interesting and challenging fact – it would take about $3.6 billion to give every infant in need the food they need to live a healthy life (Source: “Nutrition in 2 Minutes” video by WFP). Sounds like a lot, but what is interesting is that in contrast, Europeans spend three times that amount ($11 billion) on ice cream! Those greedy Europeans you say, well before you say any more know that per capita, Australians and New Zealanders are among the leading ice cream consumers in the world, both in the top 5 for the last few years.

I love my ice cream – got a nice tub of Cadbury triple choc in the freezer right now – I will still enjoy it, but knowing these kind of challenging facts makes me really appreciate having the wealth to be able to afford these luxuries, and more importantly, challenges me to use my money more wisely and get on board with being part of the solution to solving world hunger – I fed 33 hungry kids by calculating and donating the cost of our ice cream with WeFeedback. So while you enjoy the smooth creamy flavours of your ice cream, maybe click on one of the links above and get involved!


Facts from WFP news article “What You Need To Know About Hunger In 2012” published on 03 January 2012.


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