Six in ten (59%) parents/guardians are very concerned about child hunger and malnutrition in their family, particularly those from lower-income countries (73%). Moreover, the problem is perceived to be getting worse compared to five years ago, both in one’s own community (60%) and in one’s own country (65%), but, especially, globally (71%).
These concerns are informed by the lived experiences of global citizens who are struggling to put food on the table for themselves and for their children.
Notably, in the last 30 days:
- 46% have worried about finding the money to buy food for their family;
- 30% have not known where their next meal will come from;
- 21% say a child in their household has gone to bed hungry due to a lack of availability of food, rising to 38% in low-income countries.
Among those who have had to put a child to bed hungry, the main causes of hunger in their family are said to be inflation and the cost of living (46%), low household income (39%), and not enough government focus on ending hunger (25%).
Hunger is a global problem, and isn’t limited to any one country or part of the globe. A life of plenty for every child is possible, yet every day more children go hungry. Parents are queuing for food everywhere, and are facing impossible choices.
— Andrew Morley
President & CEO, World Vision International
Malnutrition is widespread and not contained to lower-income countries
The problem of malnutrition is widespread and 37% of parents globally say that their children do not receive the proper nutrients that they need on a daily basis. While this sentiment is felt more widely in lower-income countries such as Chad (66%), Malawi (64%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (63%), roughly two in ten parents or guardians in Germany (24%), the United States (20%), Australia (19%), Canada (18%) and South Korea (17%) say their children also don’t receive the nutrients they need on a daily basis.
“There is enough food in the world for everyone” Morley adds. Yet much of it is thrown away, while millions of children continue to endure the pain of hunger and malnutrition. The findings from this latest research show the alarming reality facing millions of children around the globe. They have had enough; we have had enough. It is time now for robust action. We must unite to end hunger malnutrition for every girl and boys, everywhere. Only then can children truly reach their God-given potential in life.”
“Too many parents do not get to make the choices that would keep their children healthy and growing. They must do whatever they can - including selling things the family needs to produce food and marrying off their daughters. Around the world, from Bangladesh to America, some have a surplus of food while many others have too little.”
Global citizens underestimate the impact of hunger and malnutrition
A staggering 45% of global deaths among children under age five are caused by poor nutrition but when asked to guess what proportion of global deaths among children under age five are caused by poor nutrition, nearly half (44%) of those who ventured a guess grossly underestimated the prevalence, estimating this to be below 30%. Moreover, nearly half (46%) of poll respondents could not venture a guess, demonstrating that the extent of the problem is a blind spot for most citizens around the world.
Globally, inflation and increased cost of living named main cause of hunger at country level, government intervention seen as solution
Inflation and the increased cost of living (55%) and not enough government focus (37%) are seen as the main causes of hunger at the country level. These are problems which governments could choose to address through interventions, and the public supports policies to address these challenges.
For example, it is unanimously believed (97%) that it is important for children to have something to eat during the school day, and therefore 85% support governments funding school meals. Yet, only 40% of parents/guardians say that the children in their household have been provided a school meal in the past 30 days. The importance of this is undeniable: those whose children have received a school meal are more likely to say their children receive the proper nutrients they need on a daily basis.
Only 33% believe un sustainable development goal of eliminating global hunger by 2030 will be achieved, despite having enough food to do so
Global citizens are not seeing enough progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and most (74%) say that too many children in their country are going hungry. Moreover, only 37% believe that child hunger will be eliminated by 2030 in their own country, and even fewer (33%) believe that it will be eliminated globally by 2030. Australians (17%), Canadians (17%), Germans (16%) and the Japanese (9%) are particularly pessimistic.
“In 2015, global government leaders joined together to establish nutrition targets but failed to invest in them. Today, hundreds of millions of children suffer from curable diseases, are underweight, stunted, wasted, anemic and overweight. As world crises push up hunger, the number of children facing malnutrition is also skyrocketing.”, continues Morley.
Three quarters (75%) believe that their government isn’t doing enough to support families struggling in their own country, and seven in ten believe their government isn’t doing enough to end child malnutrition (71%) or to solve the global hunger crisis (69%).
And yet, global citizens believe we have the recipe to end child hunger, with most (84%) maintaining that we have enough food in the world for everyone if we share and that having enough food to eat is a basic human right (91%).
Citizens call on governments to step up, but many playing their own part too
Global citizens say that government (68%) has the greatest responsibility for solving child hunger. But the responsibility is also shared by parents/guardians (48%) and organizations/agencies (34%). Thankfully, those with the responsibility also have the trust, with government (40%), parents/guardians (37%) and organizations (including NGOs and charities) (29%) cited as the entities they most trust to solve child hunger.
Individuals are also doing their own part: in the past 12 months many have given food to someone in need (43%), supported a hungry family locally (26%), or donated to a charity or faith-based community organization which provides food for the hungry (21%), among other actions.
Ultimately, most (89%) global citizens firmly believe that we all have a responsibility to end world hunger. We’ve had enough, and if governments, citizens, businesses, and NGOs work together, we can work more quickly towards ending hunger and malnutrition among children. We have enough.
About World Vision’s Enough Campaign
World Vision is working in 100 countries to provide millions of hungry people with food or the means to buy food and other life-saving services in response to disasters, conflict and famines. Local faith communities partner with us to identify vulnerable families, share meals and advocate for more just, nutritious and sustainable food systems. Our Global Hunger Response is the largest emergency hunger response we have ever undertaken, spending more than $1 billion dollars to help 22 million people in 28 countries. It is the biggest any NGO has ever attempted. But it’s not ENOUGH.
That’s why this World Food Day World Vision is launching a new campaign to make children visible in global and national statistics around hunger and nutrition, drive real change in the places where children are receiving food support—emergency food assistance programmes, school meals and community health services—and lead global efforts to get more and better aid invested in ending child hunger and malnutrition.
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian and development organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.
World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
About this study
These are the results of a 16-country survey conducted for World Vision by Ipsos. Ipsos interviewed an international sample of 14,131 adults aged 18 and over in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chad, the DRC, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, U.K, U.S, and aged 19 and over in Bangladesh.