The World Is Not As Hungry As You Might Think
by RAE ELLEN BICHELL
Back in 1798, English philosopher Thomas Malthus predicted that the world would eventually run out of food for its growing population.
"The power of population is so superior to the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race," he wrote.
The newly released Global Hunger Index paints a different picture.
Between 1870 and 1970, about 1.4 million people died each year in what Alex de Waal, one of the index report authors, calls "epidemics of starvation." By contrast, about 40,000 people have died each year since 2000 from large-scale hunger.
And hunger levels have dropped by about a third in developing countries since 2000.
"All the doom and gloom population people would say population growth causes famine. Well, look at the data. It doesn't," says de Waal, who is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation and a professor of international affairs at Tufts University.
Nonetheless, hunger is still a critical issue. About 800 million people are chronically undernourished, according to the report.
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The Global Health Index rates countries on a scale of 1 to 100 based on statistics including undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality. Lower scores are better.
Kuwait’s GHI score did increase, but its score was low to begin with, magnifiying the degree of change.