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World Food Day 2009

October 15, 2009

WFD Friday, October 16, is World Food Day. Here are nine things you should know about child hunger, courtesy of Save the Children USA:

1. For the first time in history, more than a billion people live with chronic hunger -- and at least 400 million of them are children.

2. In the developing world, volatile, historically high food prices together with the ongoing impact of the global economic crisis continue to drive families into poverty, putting millions more children at risk of hunger and malnutrition.

3. Drought is adding to extreme food crises in Guatemala and East Africa. In Ethiopia alone, three million children urgently need food.

4. A child dies every six seconds from hunger-related causes.

5. When there isn't enough food, poor families resort to skipping meals, pulling children from school, selling off livestock and assets and foregoing health care.

6. Poor families in developing countries typically spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food. Meanwhile, U.S. families spend only 5 to 10 percent of their budget on food.

7. When small children are malnourished, their physical and intellectual development may be permanently impaired.

8. Food shortages will increase as world population grows. By 2050, 70 percent more food will be needed to meet demand. Yet investment in agriculture is historically low.

9. It takes more than food to end hunger. For instance, the most agriculturally productive region of Mozambique has the highest rates of child malnutrition in the country. Poor families must be able to access a healthy diet.

(Sources: 1. FAO, WFP 2. World Bank 4. FAO 6. IFPRI, USDA 7. Lancet 8. FAO)

There is some good news. World leaders have pledged support for a $22 billion food security initiative and the Obama administration has outlined a new strategy to fight hunger. You can help these plans become reality by contacting your congressional representative today.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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