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The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019
July 2019

Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns

This year’s report presents evidence that the absolute number of people who suffer from hunger continues to slowly increase. The report also highlights that food insecurity is more than just hunger. For the first time, the report provides evidence that many people in the world, even if not hungry, experience moderate food insecurity as they face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food and are forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume. This phenomenon is observed globally, not only in low- and middle-income countries but also in high-income countries.

The report also shows that the world is not on track to meet global nutrition targets, including those on low birthweight and on reducing stunting among children under five years. Moreover, overweight and obesity continue to increase in all regions, particularly among school-age children and adults. The report stresses that no region is exempt from the epidemic of overweight and obesity, underscoring the necessity of multifaceted, multisectoral approaches to halt and reverse these worrying trends.

In light of the fragile state of the world economy, the report presents new evidence confirming that hunger has been on the rise for many countries where the economy has slowed down or contracted. Unpacking the links between economic slowdowns and downturns and food insecurity and malnutrition, the report contends that the effects of the former on the latter can only be offset by addressing the root causes of hunger and malnutrition: poverty, inequality and marginalization. The report concludes by recommending short- to long-term policies that address these underlying causes and safeguard food security and nutrition against economic slowdowns and downturns.

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