A woman and her child in Mali. They've been supported by Action Against Hunger's community health workers.

World hunger facts

Right now, almost one in ten people around the world don't have enough food to eat.

There’s more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet. Yet as many as 783 million people still go hungry.

Poverty, conflict and the climate crisis are keeping life-giving food out of reach.

Hunger doesn’t need to take any more lives.

What causes hunger?

According to the UN Hunger Report, hunger is the term used to define periods when populations are experiencing severe food insecurity. This happens when a person cannot guarantee a steady, daily supply of safe and nutritious food to live an active and healthy life.

There are many reasons why people experience hunger. Poverty is often a major cause of food insecurity. Conflict and violence can stop people getting the food they need while climate change and natural disasters can also reduce people’s food supply.

Facts and figures

  • 14M

    14 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition – the most life-threatening form of hunger.

  • 1 in 10

    Globally, almost one in ten people go to bed hungry every night.

  • 3bn

    3 billion people can't afford a healthy, nutritious diet.

The climate crisis 

Rising temperatures and extreme weather are having a huge impact on people who already live in some of the toughest places on earth. Droughts and famines, cyclones and floods – often related to climate change – as well as earthquakes and tsunamis, can all crank up the cycle of hunger. The climate emergency is a humanitarian emergency. Without change, there will be food crises globally due to the warming climate and biodiversity loss. Extreme weather events, like cyclones and prolonged droughts, will become more frequent and growing seasons will be shorter.


Armed conflict is the biggest single cause of hunger in the world today. War drives hunger. As do emergencies and disasters. War disrupts growing and exporting crops, all over the world.

Those who survive conflict will have their lives blighted. Many will have their future health, wealth and wellbeing compromised. As a result, they are more likely to raise their children in poverty and hunger.

Hunger has devastating impacts on children

  • 45%

    Nearly half of all deaths among children under five are linked to undernutrition.

  • 1,000

    1,000 children die each day from illnesses caused by dirty water and unhygienic living conditions.

  • 150M

    Around the world, more than 150 million children are missing out on meals and essential health and nutrition services.


Poverty is often a major cause of food insecurity. But even though the world produces enough food to feed the entire population, four out of ten people across the globe can’t afford a healthy diet.

Some countries experience poverty and food insecurity more than others. In South Asia  alone, they’ll  need to create more than 13 million jobs every year to keep pace with population growth.

Poverty often leads to a downward spiral of despair. Families and individuals start by cutting back on clothing and leisure activities. Then, over time, they start cutting back on nutritious,  varied food before then cutting back on food altogether.

Gender inequality

Hunger affects everyone differently. But around the world, women and girls are most at risk of becoming malnourished.

In countries facing conflict, famine and hunger, women and girls often eat last and least.


Covid-19 has made the world’s poorest people poorer. It sent shockwaves through economies, so millions can’t afford decent food to eat.

Action Against Hunger carries out life-saving prevention work and provides treatment for life-threatening hunger and mental health issues. We also support those affected by Covid-19.

Nyamile holds a lily she's picked near her home in South Sudan.

The world's hungriest countries

The latest UN Hunger Hotspots report highlights Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen as the countries with the highest levels of hunger.

Learn more

What’s the solution?

We’re building a world where no one dies from hunger.

For over forty years, we’ve led the global movement to end life-threatening hunger for good. Because nobody needs to die from hunger.

Our unstoppable energy comes from our unbeatable knowledge. With the right technical know-how, we can break down the biggest problems into simple steps.

Action Against Hunger focuses hard on diagnosis and treatment, as well as on prevention. As a leading technical organisation in the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition, we have and continue to play a key role in piloting new approaches in order to ensure all children affected by acute malnutrition can receive the care they need.

When a major crisis hits, we link with other UK charities specialising in humanitarian aid, through our membership of the Disasters Emergency Committee and the Start Network, helping all to respond early and quickly to emergencies together.

In 2022, we helped more than 28 million people in 55 countries around the world.

More about Action Against Hunger

About us

A boy is screened for malnutrition at an Action Against Hunger treatment centre in Mali.

We save the lives of malnourished children and support their families to beat hunger.

Our impact

A community supported by Action Against Hunger in Tanzania.

Meet the families and communities whose lives have been transformed by our work.

Where we work

A woman walking through a field at an Action Against Hunger project in Mali.

We fight hunger and malnutrition in 46 countries around the world.