Hunger and Food Problems and its Effects on Human Health

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The suffering that comes from hunger and the lack of calories is experienced by millions around the world. A lack of food causes lifelong effects that can cause children under the age of five to stop their brain from developing, and mothers who carry children in their wombs to give birth to children who already suffer from fetal undernutrition. Diseases of hunger ravage the world, and people who live in poverty and filth can do almost nothing to help their situation.

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Hunger is the leading cause of death on the planet, and although there is no clear picture of the sheer amount of hungry people in the world, what we know for sure is that hunger is a definite form of mass destruction. Two types of hunger are demonstrated in the readings: structural hunger and conjunctural hunger. Structural hunger occurs as the result of structures of agricultural production in the South, and is reproduced biologically through undernourished mothers who give birth to children who already suffer from a lack of nutrients. Structural hunger “represents the physical and mental destruction of human beings”, and it tears people and families apart from the inside out. Conjunctural hunger on the other hand is “highly visual”. It is the hunger and poverty that you see on television, and it occurs when a natural disaster or war occurs suddenly and tears through a country and leaves its institutions of governments unable to function. People are suddenly left to fend for themselves in a place where there is nothing.

The groups that are defined as being at the greatest risk of hunger are the rural poor and the urban poor. The rural poor are the majority of hungry people. Most do not have access to clean water or electricity, and sanitation, education, and hygiene services are nonexistent. Many agricultural workers live in extreme poverty because they are overexploited by landowners, have insufficient title to land, or their land is insufficient to feed their families decently. The rural poor are said to be the “poorest of the poor on earth”. The urban poor live in urban shanty towns, slums, and squatter encampments. Food accounts for 80 to 85 percent of a person’s total expenses, and 41 percent of the population lives in “informal housing.”

Malnutrition is not a lack of calories, but a lack of vitamins and nutrients that are meant to keep the body healthy. It is a deficiency in micronutrients. A person may even be at normal weight, and yet they could still suffer from malnutrition. It can lead to serious health problems, and “vulnerability to infectious diseases, blindness, anemia, lethargy, reduced learning ability,cognitive impairment, congenital deformities, and death”. The most common deficiencies are a lack of vitamin A, iron, and iodine. Malnutrition is an “invisible hunger” because a person can look relatively healthy and still be suffering. “Deaths due to malnutrition are not captured in the FAO’s hunger statistics, which only count total available calories.” Malnutrition not only affects the physical body, but can result in severe psychological consequences, including “a permanent sense of shame, depression, an obsessive fear of each new day.”

Food insecurity makes it impossible to rebuild a social structure. The state of the world economy determines the struggle against hunger, so with a failing economy, there is no way to feed all the hungry people of the world. One way to stop world hunger is to provide transportation and tools to farmers, as well as irrigation systems, improved seed, mineral fertilizers, and animals, which would also provide manure. Another possible solution is access to credit for people in impoverished countries. Through credit, people can get a headstart in their lives, and eventually pay their credit back when they get themselves into a better situation. World hunger is not a small issue. Millions of people live their days in fear of not finding any food, and the pain of hunger is slow until finally death is received. No one should have to go through this, mother, child, or father. The population of the world keeps increasing, and more people are hungry every year. Through governments that work together instead of turning the issue away, one day I believe that hunger can be beat.

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Hunger and Food Problems and Its Effects on Human Health. (2022, Oct 03). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from
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