Hunger is a phrase which has three meanings (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)
- The uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food
- The want or scarcity of food in a country
- A strong desire or craving
World hunger implies to the second definition, aggregated to the world level. The related technical term (in this case operationalized in medicine) is either malnutrition, or, if malnutrition is taken to indicate to both under nutrition and over nutrition. Both malnutrition and under nutrition refers to not having enough food.
What are the causes of hunger?
What are the causes of hunger is a fundamental question, with varied answers.
Poverty is the main cause of hunger. The causes of poverty including poor people’s whose lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. Extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in the world’s developing regions, despite some progress that reduced “dollar–now $1.25– a day” poverty from (an estimated) 1900 million people in 1981, a reduction of 29 percent over the period. Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased. The statement that ‘poverty is the principal cause of hunger’ is, though correct, unsatisfying
Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger. Hunger Notes believes that the principal underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world. Essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive, if they do.
Conflict as a cause of hunger and poverty. At the end of 2005, the global number of refugees was at its lowest level in almost a quarter of a century. Despite some large-scale repatriation movements, the last three years have witnessed a significant increase in refugee numbers, due primarily to the violence taking place in Iraq and Somalia. Those involved conflict is less important as poverty (and its causes) as a cause of hunger. (Using the statistics above 1.02 billion people suffer from chronic hunger while 36 million people are displaced [UNHCR 2008])
Hunger is also a cause of poverty, and thus of hunger. By causing poor health, low levels of energy, and even mental impairment, hunger can lead to even greater poverty by reducing people’s ability to work and learn, thus leading to even greater hunger.
Climate change is increasingly viewed as a current and upcoming reason of hunger and poverty. Increasing drought, flooding, and changing climatic patterns requiring a shift in crops and farming practices that may not be easily accomplished are the three key issues.