Experts: 821M people, 121M children worldwide are ‘food insecure’

The number of undernourished people in the world has increased to one in nine, a new analysis Friday showed.

Palestinian farmers collect wheat stalks during the annual harvest at a farm near the Deir Al-Balah refugee camp, in central Gaza. A new report Friday said the number of people worldwide who don't have consistent access to food is growing. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
Palestinian farmers collect wheat stalks during the annual harvest at a farm near the Deir Al-Balah refugee camp, in central Gaza. A new report Friday said the number of people worldwide who don’t have consistent access to food is growing. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

In a reversal of a years-long trend, at least 821 million people — including 151 million children — are undernourished, a 202-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations said.

Researchers studied hunger in 134 counties and concluded just 13 percent of children under the age of five are classified as obese.

The study uses the term “food insecurity” to denote those with unreliable or inadequate sources of food and situations that lead to both overweight and underweight conditions.

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A Food Insecurity Experience Scale of eight questions from the Gallup World Poll tracks respondents.

Friday’s report linked five characteristics with greater food insecurity — low education levels, less social capitalism, weak social networks, low income and unemployment.

Gallup said the characteristics are constant across all countries’ rankings of economic development.

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The FAO report said conflict that leads to economic instability and climate change are major factors that also contribute to food insecurity.

Experts recommended disaster-mitigating risk reduction in economies and proper planning for the near and long term.

ByEd Adamczyk