Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020: Few Facts for Further Research

Based on the Report of 2020 Global Hunger Index GHI), few important findings are presented here. Also it is noteworthy to mention that for the 2020 GHI, data on the proportion of undernourished are for 2017–2019; data on child stunting and wasting are for the latest year in the period 2015–2019 for which data are available; and data on child mortality are for 2018. GHI scores could not be calculated for the countries for which data were not available, as mentioned in the Report.

1)    According to the 2020 Global Hunger Index, worldwide hunger is at moderate level.

2)    Around 690 million people are undernourished; 144 million children suffer from stunting, a sign of chronic under -nutrition; 47 million children suffer from wasting, a sign of acute under-nutrition; and in 2018, 5.3 million children died before their fifth birthdays, in many cases as a result of under- nutrition. It is evident that under-nutrition is a great issue in the world. In view of this, I suggest different organisations of the world also the organisations of different countries should see that this issue is tackled.

3)    According to 2020 GHI scores, three countries have alarming levels of hunger – Chad, Timor-Leste, and Madagascar. Hunger is also alarming in eight countries viz., Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  

4)    It is evident from the Report that, in both Africa South of the Sahara and South Asia, one in three children was stunted in 2019. In other words, 32.7 percent of children in Africa South of the Sahara and 33.2 percent of children in South Asia were too short for their age, reflecting chronic under-nutrition.

5)    Unfortunately, child mortality in Africa South of the Sahara is awfully high. The region’s under-five mortality rate, at 7.8 percent in 2018 was highest among the regions of the world.

6)    South Asia’s child wasting rate is the highest of any world region. In 2019 the child wasting rate for South Asia was 14.8 percent, compared with 6.9 percent in Africa South of the Sahara. For the benefit of readers, it may be mentioned that wasting in this context means low weight for height, which is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five and is usually the result of acute significant food shortage.

7)    The high child stunting rate in South Asia is driven by multiple factors. South Asia’s child stunting rate in 2019 was 33.2 percent, down from 51.3 percent in 2000. The key factors that contribute to stunting in the region are poor infant and young child feeding practices, poor nutrition among women before and during pregnancy, and also poor sanitation practices.

8)    Although in recent years’ child mortality rate has declined in South Asia even then, the same in South Asia is very high. The mortality rate of children under age five in South Asia in 2018 was 4.1 percent, compared to 9.2 percent in 2000. In view of this, improvement in child nutrition is suggested.

Hope academicians and researchers will take up academic research study in our county based on the points presented here.

 The following websites have been consulted while writing the article in addition to the Report Global Hunger Index, 2020.                                

  1. www.nourishscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Nourish-Magazine-Issue-6-Boyd-Orr
  2. https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition
  3. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1949/orr/biographical/
  4. https://www.globalhungerindex.org/results.html

Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad

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