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Hunger is applied literally to the need or craving for food; it can also be applied metaphorically to cravings of other sorts. It is an extreme of a normal appetite.The term is commonly used more broadly to refer to cases of widespread malnutrition or deprivation among populations, usually due to poverty, political conflicts or instability, or adverse agricultural conditions (famine).

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Hunger as a condition
Politics of hunger
Hunger in the world

Hunger as a condition - Contents

The term hungry is commonly used simply to mean having an appetite or to be ready for a meal. After a long period without food, the mild sensation of hunger associated with being ready for a meal becomes a progressively more severe sensation, until it becomes acutely painful. Prolonged hunger will drive people to eat substances with no nutritional value, such as grass and soil, simply to fill their stomachs (which has an adverse effect on energy balance as energy is still required to digest these substances). Lack of particular nutrients leads to particular medical types of malnutrition. Kwashiorkor and marasmus are prime examples. Rabbit starvation is a condition occurring when one's diet consists almost acute malnutrition in spite of the victim having consumed what would seem to be normal daily quantities of food. Eventually, after protracted malnourishment, death will occur through starvation.Sometimes hunger is defined as the condition in which an organism can only use its protein tissue (e.g. muscles) as the source of energy, a condition which sets in after all sugars and fats etc. are used up.In contrast to hunger, which is involuntary, fasting is the practice of voluntarily not eating for a period of time. A hunger strike is fasting for the purpose of nonviolent resistance.

Politics of hunger - Contents

The orange ribbon - an awareness ribbon for hunger.
The orange ribbon - an awareness ribbon for hunger.
As of 2005, hunger continues to be a worldwide problem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "850 million people worldwide were undernourished in 1999 to 2005, the most recent years for which figures are available" and the number of hungry people has recently been increasing. An orange awareness ribbon is used to raise awareness of hunger in the world. [1]There is a wide range of opinions as to why this problem is so persistent. Organizations such as Food First raise the issue of food sovereignty and claim that every country on earth (with the possible minor exceptions of some city-states) has sufficient agricultural capacity to feed its own people, but that the " free trade" economic order associated with such institutions as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank prevent this from happening. At the other end of the spectrum, the World Bank itself claims to be part of the solution to hunger, claiming that the best way for countries to succeed in breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger is to build export-led economies that will give them the financial means to buy foodstuffs on the world market.Amartya Sen won his 1998 Nobel Prize in part for his work in demonstrating that hunger in modern times was not typically the product of a lack of food; rather, hunger usually arose from problems in food distribution networks or from governmental policies in the developing world.

Hunger in the world - Contents

Number of undernourished people (million) in 2000- 2002, according to the FAO, the following countries had more than 5 million undernourished people:
Country Number of Undernourished (million)
India 250.4
China 142.1
Bangladesh 42.5
Democratic Republic of Congo 35.5
Ethiopia 31.3
Pakistan 29.3
Philippines 17.2
Tanzania 15.6
Brazil 15.6
Vietnam 14.7
Indonesia 12.6
Thailand 12.2
Nigeria 11.0
Kenya 10.3
Sudan 8.5
Mozambique 8.5
North Korea 8.1
Yemen 6.7
Madagascar 6.0
Colombia 5.7
Zimbabwe 5.6
Mexico 5.2
Zambia 5.2
Angola 5.1
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