Global hunger is on the rise after a decade of continued decline, according to a new report.
The annual United Nations report on nutrition and food security says that increase is largely driven by conflict and climate-related events. Here’s a quick look at the findings:
- An estimated 815 million people worldwide were undernourished in 2016. That’s 38 million more people than in 2015, and shakes out to 11 percent of the world’s population.
- Malnutrition is harming children’s health. The report found that 155 million kids under age 5 are too short for their age, a sign of malnutrition known as stunting. More than 31 percent of kids in Africa suffer from stunted growth.
- Another 52 million children don’t weigh enough for their height. The issue — another sign of malnutrition called wasting — is particularly prevalent in Southeast Asia, where more than 15 percent of kids experience wasting. Global rates of both stunting and wasting have fallen in the past decade.
- Conflict and climate change are driving the crisis. More than half of those experiencing extreme hunger live in countries affected by conflict, such as South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. The authors of the new report say climate change increases the risk of natural disasters and threatens food security, which can drive a community toward conflict.
- Other nutrition problems are on the rise. Obesity rates worldwide have more than doubled since 1980.
- More women are breastfeeding exclusively. In 2016, 43 percent of infants under 6 months were exclusively breastfed, up from 36 percent in 2005.