People who are chronically hungry are undernourished. They don’t eat enough to get the energy they need to lead active lives. Their undernourishment makes it hard to study, work or otherwise perform physical activities. Undernourishment is particularly harmful for women and children. Undernourished children do not grow as quickly as healthy children. Mentally, they may develop more slowly. Constant hunger weakens the immune system and makes them more vulnerable to diseases and infections. Mothers living with constant hunger often give birth to underweight and weak babies, and are themselves facing increased risk of death.
Every day, millions of people around the world eat only the bare minimum of food to keep themselves alive. Every night, they go to bed not certain whether there will be enough food to eat tomorrow. This uncertainty about where the next meal will come from is called ‘food insecurity’. FAO defines food insecurity as:
“A situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.”
On average, a person needs about 1800 kcal per day as a minimum energy intake.
Learn more about chronic hunger from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.