With one in every nine people – or 821 million – in the world undernourished hunger is on the rise again, signalling a reversal of trends after a prolonged decline.
Climate change, high cost of nutritious food and rising obesity are eroding many years of progress in fighting malnutrition and hunger.
As the world marks World Food Day today and dedicates itself to achieving zero hunger by 2030, below are some key facts from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and Food Agriculture Organization.
- 1 in 4 children under five in Kenya was stunted in 2017, equivalent to 1.8m children. While some progress is being made in reducing child stunting, levels still remain unacceptably high. Nearly 151 million children under five were affected by stunting in 2017 globally, a nine percent decrease from 165.2 million in 2012.
- Wasting continues to affect over 50 million children under five in the world and these children are at an increased risk of sickness and death. Furthermore, over 38 million children under five are overweight, with a quarter of that number living in Africa.
- Poor access to food increases the risk of low birthweight and stunting in children, which are associated with higher risk of overweight and obesity later in life.
- 17 million Kenyans routinely go to bed hungry.
- Adult obesity is worsening, and more than one in eight adults in the world – or more than 672 million – is obese. Undernutrition, overweight and obesity
coexist in many countries.
- About three million women of reproductive age in Kenya suffer from anaemia, with significant health and development consequences for both women and their children.
- The higher cost of nutritious foods, the stress of living with food insecurity and physiological adaptations to food restriction help explain why food-insecure families may have a higher risk of overweight and obesity.
- Exposure to more complex, frequent and intense climate extremes is threatening to erode and reverse gains made in ending hunger and malnutrition.
- Actions need to be accelerated and scaled up to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems, people’s livelihoods, and nutrition in response to climate variability and extremes.
- For every shilling invested in combating malnutrition, the economic return is Sh16.