Hunger and Nutrition Quiz
This part of the Hunger Notes website enables you to make a free (to you) contribution to assist hungry people. Learn more about hunger by reading essential information on an important aspect of world hunger and complete the quiz at the end. When you complete a quiz, Hunger Notes will make a donation to assist hungry people in crisis.
How are hunger and nutrition related? This seems an obvious question—if one doesn’t eat enough food to fill their current physiological needs, they feel hunger. Hunger can be temporary, such as not having enough to eat for a meal or a day or can be long lasting when the person does not get enough to eat to maintain their physical needs over many days, weeks, months or years. When a person has hunger for a sustained period, he or she can develop malnutrition, either mild or severe, depending on one’s body needs and food intake.
Malnutrition involves a deficient, excess or imbalanced intake of nutrients for proper tissue and organ function, and it encompasses both overnutrition and undernutrition (Mosby Medical Dictionary, 2009; World Health Organization [WHO], 2018).
The term ‘Chronic malnutrition’ refers to lower intake of nutrients than the body needs over a long period of time (Reinhardt & Fanzo, 2014). This type of undernutrition can cause young children to be stunted in height, underweight, delayed in developmental capacities such as brain function, and more prone to disease.
The most vulnerable for undernutrition are children under five and pregnant and lactating women, poor people, people who live in developing countries, and people who are displaced or who live in conflict zones (FAO et. al., 2017; WHO 2018)
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 98 million children under five years of age are underweight, or about one in every six children. The prevalence of undernourished people is the highest in Africa, but the absolute number of undernourished children is highest in Asia (FAO et al., 2017).
Diarrhea or infectious disease can cause loss of micronutrients or inhibit consumption of sufficient nutritional foods, weakening an individual to become more susceptible to severe illness, and thus exacerbating the micronutrient deficiency (UNICEF, 2018). Also referred to as “hidden hunger,” micronutrient deficiencies can gradually develop unnoticed until manifesting in irreversible cognitive, physical or immune system impairment (UNICEF, 2018).
Vitamin A deficiency, which impacts eyesight among other physiological effects, is another common deficiency, affecting as many as a third of children in middle and low income regions (UNICEF, 2018). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) estimates that as many as 2 billion people worldwide, about half of whom are children, are not getting enough nutrients, such as vitamin A, iron or zinc, in their diets.
Contributing to the immediate causes of malnutrition are the underlying causes of malnutrition (UNICEF, 2015). Whether or not an individual gets enough food to eat or whether s/he is at risk of infection is mainly the result of factors operating at the household and community level.
The underlying causes can be grouped into three categories:
- household food insecurity
- inadequate care and feeding practices
- unhealthy household environment and lack of health services (UNICEF, 2015)
Household food insecurity is the lack of reliable access to safe, affordable, and adequate amounts of nutritious foods for those in the household (UNICEF). Inadequate care includes practices such as inadequate breastfeeding or poor dietary intake during pregnancy and in general (UNICEF). Lack of public health services and access to clean water, as well as poor sanitation, can contribute to malnutrition by promoting environments conducive to the contraction of disease.
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For the past 40 years, since its founding in 1976, the mission of World Hunger Education Service is to undertake programs, including Hunger Notes, that
- Educate the general public and target groups about the extent and causes of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and the world
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