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Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), 19-21 November 2014

Hunger and malnutrition are pervasive problems that affect millions of people in the world today, especially in developing countries. Although steady progress has been made in recent years—undernourishment is down 21% from 1992—there is still considerable room for improvement. The Zero Hunger Challenge is predicated on the common belief that with a concerted effort across multiple sectors, we can end hunger in our lifetime.

1. Between now and 2050, the global population is projected to rise from about 7 billion to 9.2 billion, demanding a 60 percent increase in global food production.1

2. A total of 805 million are estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life.2

3. The vast majority of hungry people—791 million—live in developing regions, where the prevalence of undernourishment is estimated at 13.5%3.

4. In developing countries, almost five million children under the age of five die of malnutrition-related causes every year.4

5. Malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world.5

6. Severe acute malnutrition affects nearly 20 million preschool-age children, mostly from Africa and South-East Asia.6

7. 1/3 of the developing world’s population suffers micronutrient deficiencies leading to blindness, mental retardation and early death.7

8. 161 million children are stunted8 ; 99 million are underweight9 and 51 million are wasted due to acute malnutrition10.

9. The cost to the economy caused by malnutrition could be up to 5 percent of GDP—US$3.5 trillion per year or US$500 per person.

10. The costs of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are estimated at 2–3 percent of global GDP, or US$1.4–2.1 trillion per year.


1 FAO. Save and grow: A policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2011.

2FAO, IFAD and WFP. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2014.

3Ibid.

4 FAO. 100 days to Rio +20, 100 facts: Making the link between people, food and the environment. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2012.

5 FAO. Gender and nutrition. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

6 WHO. Guideline: Updates on the management of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.

7 FAO. Sustainable nutrition security: Restoring the bridge between agriculture and health. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2012.

8 FAO. The State of Food and Agriculture, 2013: Food Systems for Better Nutrition. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 2013.

9 Ibid.

10 WHO. Reduce and  maintain childhood wasting to less than 5 %. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.