23 Mar 2015
Growing up, the commercials of starving children in Africa in need of food because of rampant starvation and the pervasive threat of death have been streaming on various media. World Hunger is one of the main problems that a large portion of the global population faces today. Hunger varies with severity but in this case it is the want of food in a third world country. World hunger is a problem that has existed for much of our known history; it has faded away from central concerns because it is barely brought up in everyday conversations. World hunger has many aggravating factors and principal causes, such as insufficient economic systems, misinformation, climate changes, etc. But the main debilitating factor is poverty as poverty always has led to people going without regular meals because they cannot afford to eat. There are vast quantities of people in third world nations and developing countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia that are so impoverished that are in desperate need for food. Whether a country is rich or poor, there are always tremendous numbers of people dealing with poverty and hunger. Perhaps most disheartening is the cruel reality that most of the victims are young children. Hunger is a very serious issue that cannot easily be remedied.
As a matter of fact, people all over the world mainly concentrated in developing countries die because of hunger and starvation on a daily basis. With the growth of population, the number of hungry people also increases at a disproportionate rate. Unfortunate people go days, even weeks, with no food because of their despairing conditions. A person's body can only survive for so long without proper nutrition. Amazingly, the body can go up to about two to three months without food. Our bodies feed off our muscles and then fat in order to live but after that, there is little to maintain a person. It is at that point that an individual's body shuts down. Without treatment or food, this leads to death. Hunger has persistently remained a serious problem in many developing countries including countries like Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. This is reminiscent of commercials that are shown on TV about children starving that tug on our heartstrings and make us empathize with those less fortunate than us. Sometimes, it coerces us to donate money to help. After this initial flight of empathy, people soon forget about it. Even though the United States is known for being a rich country, known as the land of plenty, even here we have poverty and starvation. Needless to say, it is not right to sit and watch developing countries suffer. Should the government choose to implement solutions in order to combat world hunger, the number of children and destitute adults starving in undeveloped countries may dwindle significantly.
To combat world hunger, we must first consider poverty, the primary cause of these conditions. People in countries are not hungry because there is not enough to go around. Rather, the food available is too costly for the average poor person. But that is not to say that the better off sympathize with the impoverished. In fact, these people tend to believe that the poor are unemployed because they are too lazy or stupid to find jobs, and instead wait for others to simply give them amenities (Hughes, 2006). While this may be true for some, it is not representative of the majority of poverty. It is highly unlikely that poor people simply chose to live their lifestyles with little to go around. In most cases misfortune is thrust upon these people. A prime example of this would be the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Haiti some years ago. Thousands found themselves without homes, without resources and without infrastructure on which to build any wealth. As one can see, this unpredictable force of nature caused great misfortune without distinction among class, wealth or social status. Consequently, it is asinine for people better off to simply dismiss poverty as a result of laziness or stupidity. Among the impoverished, there is certainly drive and ambition to improve their conditions yet society may not have a place for them. According to the article Feeding the World in the New Millennium, close to 2 billion people in developing countries scrape by on only a dollar or two a day (Pinstrup-Anderson, 2001). It is hard to imagine that this measly amount could suffice for a single meal.
While poverty acts as a debilitating factor to the individual, undeveloped and developing countries are stifled in their economic systems as well. Many developing countries lack sufficient trade to promote wealth on any large scale, thus contributing to the hunger problem. "Low-income food-deficit countries are those that do not have enough food to feed their populations and for the most part lack the financial resources to pay for imports. FAO defines low-income countries as those with a per capita gross national product (GNP) (in 1993) of US$1,345 or less and a net deficit in grain trade averaged over the preceding five marketing year" (Hunger in the Midst of Plenty, 1997, para. 6). Some governments are extremely restricted in the resources they can allot to their citizens while maintaining the bare minimum required to run the country. This scarcity of resources is a major player and the sad truth remains that this contributes to the plague that is hunger. Christensen (1978) shows that, "chronic hunger is caused in poverty which happens when incomes are distributed unequally in countries" (p.745) this means that while some are well off even in an undeveloped country, there are multitudes more that go without food.
Next, climate change also adds to world hunger. One may wonder how climate changes affect or lead to world hunger. With the amount of rain that a country gets increases, it can potentially lead to serious flooding. This can ruin an entire year's harvest, destroying whatever the farmer may have prepared for his family or the market. Flooding detrimentally affects how much food is produced and available to the impoverished and raises the costs of these farm products. This means that the poor can afford even less than they would usually be able to buy. Many people in developing countries depend on farmers in order to survive, so with the weather changing so drastically with each season, it ruins their chances of growing food to either eat or sell. ("Climate changes is worsening world hunger," 2013). It makes it hard for them to produce food because of how changes in weather are increasing drastically. Farmers already struggle with growing food, so with the climate changes increasing it is not only affecting them but also affecting their nation's economy. "The report, released before the G8 meeting in Italy this week, where Barack Obama will chair a session on climate change, warns that without immediate action on climate all the development gains made in 50 years are under threat" (Vidal, 2009, Para. 5). This shows that if nothing is done, much of the undeveloped and developing countries will be at risk.
Finally another major influence that plays a role in hunger is malnutrition and health. Malnutrition occurs when a person's body receives little or no nutrients. People who are malnourishedÂ get sick more often and as a result in many cases die. According to Muller & Krawinkel (2005), "Malnutrition is consequently the most important risk factor for the burden of disease in developing countries.Â It is the direct cause of about 300,000 deaths per year and is indirectly responsible for about half of all deaths in young children" (p. 279) When the individual does not eat a proper meal that provides nutrients and vitamins, it contributes to malnutrition. It not only harms the body but also the mind. Malnutrition also causes an illness called Kwashiorkor in many developing countries, mainly in children. Such a disease occurs when there is not enough protein in a child's diet.
According to the Canadian medical association journal, "Kwashiorkor usually manifests with edema, changes to hair and skin color, anemia, hepatomegaly, lethargy, severe immune deficiency and early death" (Muller & Krawinkel, 2005, p.280). When a child is petite with a huge stomach, that's when you know that the child has kwashiorkor. Poor people in developing countries are the ones that are largely affected by this pandemic. They cannot find food to eat and even when they do, they tend to eat whatever, which they are not supposed to eat because it is harmful. The world produces enough food to feed families, but yet people are still starving hunger. Malnutrition is leading cause of a serious number of deaths in developing countries. Actions must be taken because poor nutrition makes an individual prone to disease and often too weak to face their bleak reality.
Furthermore, steps should be taken in ending world hunger. This issue has been a dominating problem in developing countries that has distracted these nations from reaching progress in other fields. Already, steps are not enough to alleviate the epidemic that is world hunger. The Pinstrup-Anderson (2001) stated that, "one of every five people in the developing world is hungry" (P. 24). Every individual at one point has complained about starvation because they have not eaten in perhaps a few hours. These same people have not truly experienced extreme hunger where the person does not have enough nutrients in their body and goes through serious pain. People in developed countries should make an effort to help the poor in developing countries that are in need of serious help. In order to solve this, the reigning governments should offer programs that create better paying jobs that will help low income people have the opportunity to provide food on the table for their families. People in developed countries are notoriously known for wasting huge amounts of food every single day. It is very shocking to see this; citizens tend to get more than they can eat and end up wasting it. In Africa, farmers and citizens of the country lose food because they do not have the proper knowledge growing and managing their crops. They do not go about wasting crop matter because they know it is hard to get some. Food being wasted could feed millions of young children starving in Africa. People in developed countries like Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom waste food too much and it has to stop.
In conclusion, world hunger is a problem that should be taken seriously and should be approached with all deliberate and swift policies. There are so many different causes of world hunger but the three main ones are poverty, climate changes, and also weak economies. Families in developing countries are in serious need of help. Developed countries like the United States and Canada should find multifaceted policies to help populations in third world nations. By connecting the farmers in the country to consumers, it could help them be able to provide for their families and also other families that are in need. If finding other solutions to help world hunger is delayed, many people will keep losing their loved ones. People in developing countries cannot solve this by themselves; they need helping hands. Developed countries need to start thinking less of themselves and more of poor people in countries that are struggling. People need to contribute financially to organizations that have been created to help end hunger. It is a sad reality that a simple meal is what is on the minds of millions around the world, and yet many do not achieve this seemingly simple goal. Yet, it is not just world hunger that is the problem; poverty too feeds this vicious cycle. World hunger is a daily tragedy, one that is capable of remedy through compassion and perseverance.
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