“Food, glorious food!” sang Oliver and the other workhouse boys in the musical based on Dickens’s Oliver Twist. According to the World Food Programme, in purely quantitative terms there is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life. Unfortunately, “glorious food” is a mere dream for many.
“Food security” is said to exist when people have physical and economic access – at all times – to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and preferences for an active, healthy life. But countless people around the world today experience “food insecurity.”
- One in seven people around the world will go to bed hungry tonight.
- Hunger is the world’s number one health risk. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
- One in three children is underweight. Undernutrition is associated with up to 50% of child deaths.
- In Canada, 851,014 people (2.5% of the Canadian population) received food from a food bank in March 2011. Of those receiving food, 38% were children and youth under age 18.
- In 2010, 14.5% of households in the United States were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.4% with very low food security — meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food.
- The United Nations estimates that the number of hungry people around the world in 2010 was 925 million.
Sources: 1,2: World Food Programme, 3: Unicef, 4: Food Banks Canada, 5: United States Department of Agriculture, 6: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold,
it would be a merrier world.”
- Thorin speaking in The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien