9 Things We Need To Address When We Talk About World Hunger

We have a lot of ideas about hunger. However, a lot of these beliefs are based upon misconceptions of what hunger means, what causes it, and whom it affects. Because these misunderstandings can be obstacles to solving this issue, we’re here to address some of the most common myths we’ve heard about hunger.

Myth #9. Droughts and natural disasters are the main source of hunger.

Truth: There are a plethora of ways to circumvent climate issues and disasters that make it possible to survive during these times. What is a huge and difficult to overcome source of hunger? Human issues, such as political unrest and military conflict.

Myth #8. The amount of food wasted in America alone could feed the world’s hungry.

Truth: While logistically this isn’t feasible, and much of the food wasted is rotten or decomposing, we do waste A LOT of food—up to 40% of what we produce. However, new programs are being implemented in establishments known for large amounts of food waste (i.e. restaurants), which allow good, unused food to be redistributed to food banks and shelters.

Myth #7. Larger farms = more food.

Small Farm

Truth: Agricultural production is about more than the size of the farm. Efficiency, access to water and roads for product distribution, technology, and climate all contribute to crop yield.

Myth #6. There isn’t enough food to feed everyone.

Truth: With the amount of food we produce, we could provide adequate nourishment to everyone in the world. However, there are significant problems with the efficiency with which we produce food, including equitable distribution and unsustainable farming practices.

Myth #5. Obesity has nothing to do with hunger.

fast food and unhealthy eating concept – close up of fast food snacks and coca cola drink on wooden table

Truth: These seemingly unrelated topics have much more in common than you’d think. Hunger is about nourishment, rather than solely food. It’s important to note that lack of access to food with adequate nutrients often results in poor food choices. People often turn to unhealthy food options because it’s what is most affordable, meaning we get food, but not nourishment. Lack of access to healthy and affordable food has had a detrimental effect on the health of our society. Heart disease and diabetes (Type 2), which are considered diet-related diseases, now top the list of leading causes of death in America.

Myth #4. Hunger is only an issue for people in developing countries.

Truth: While hunger does affect the greatest number of people in developing countries, it is an issue all over the world; with 795 million people hungry across the globe. In the United States alone, nearly 15% of households qualify as “food insecure,” which the USDA defines as, “limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

Myth #3. With 15% of U.S. households qualifying as food insecure, I should focus on that, rather than global hunger.

Truth: Nearly 1 in every 9 people on earth doesn’t receive adequate nutrients. Lack of proper nutrition not only causes poor health, it inhibits development in children, and results in lower mental functioning.

Speaking of hunger being more than a physical health concern…

Myth #2. Hunger is solely an issue of physical health which only concerns those affected and the bleeding hearts of the world.

Truth: Malnourishment is an issue with vast and detrimental effects on education and, ultimately, economy. The physical effects of hunger translate to a limited ability to focus, low energy levels, and damaging effects on development; most felt by children. These problems often create tremendous obstacles to achieving success in education, which severely limits the potential of individuals and societies everywhere.

Myth #1. I can’t afford to do anything about worldwide hunger.

Truth: You can click at The Hunger Site every day. It’s free, easy, and makes a real difference.

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Lindsy and her ten-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved to Seattle two years ago from Tucson, Arizona. They chose Seattle because they heard that's where they kept all the good coffee - plus Ella learned about grass. L. De Mello likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.