842M Malnourished People Worldwide Due to Poverty, AIDS, Population Growth, FAO Report Says
The number of malnourished people worldwide is growing, due mainly to AIDS, poverty and population growth, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's annual hunger report, Reuters/Boston Globe reports (Brough, Reuters/Boston Globe, 11/26). The total number of malnourished people worldwide dropped during the first half of the 1990s, but the number increased by 18 million to 842 million in the second half of the decade, according to the report. The total number of malnourished people represents 15% of the world's population and includes 798 million people in developing countries, 34 million in countries that are "in transition" and 10 million in industrialized countries (Jordan, Christian Science Monitor, 11/26). The latest figures "signal a setback" in the war against hunger and make the possibility of meeting the U.N. goal of cutting in half the number of malnourished people by 2015 "increasingly remote," the report says (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/26). About 60% to 70% of farms in Southern Africa suffered labor losses as a result of AIDS-related illnesses, and "lacking the labor, resources and know-how to grow staple and commercial crops, many households are now cultivating survival foods," according to the report (Turner, Financial Times, 11/26). Hunger also has exacerbated the AIDS epidemic by leading rural people to migrate to cities -- where HIV prevalence is higher -- and "forcing women and children to trade sex for money and food," the report says, according to the New York Times (Sengupta, New York Times, 11/26). However, the report says that there is a "better sense" today of how focusing on economic and agricultural growth, lowering population growth, lowering HIV prevalence rates, improving access to water for irrigation and creating social safety nets can help end hunger (Weise, USA Today, 11/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.