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Measuring global hunger

Oct 15, 2008

International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index 2008 puts India in an alarming category. According to the report the world has made slow progress in reducing food insecurity since 1990, with dramatic difference among regions and countries.

The Global Hunger Index 2008

Publisher: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2008

Released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) along with Welthungerhlife and the University of California, The study reveals that overall Global Hunger Index scores have improved from 18.7 in the 1990 GHI to 15.2 in the 2008 GHI.

But as regions, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the worst scores (23.3 and 23.0, respectively) on the 2008 GHI. It ranks India at 66 out 88 countries.

“Despite years of robust economic growth, India scored worse than nearly 25 sub-Saharan African countries and all of South Asia, except Bangladesh,” the report says.

According to the report, the ongoing food price crisis exacerbates hunger problems in many countries, cutting into poor households’ food budgets, with particularly serious risks for undernourished infants and children under two. High prices also reduce the amount of food aid that donors can supply.

Also, India’s abysmal record is due to an inadequate access to food, poor feeding practices and poor childcare practices in the country.

The 2008 Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranks 88 developing and transitional countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 and 100 being the best and worst possible scores, respectively.

The Index measures hunger on three indicators as below:

  • The proportion of people who are calorie deficient, or undernourished, which is a key indicator of hunger.
  • The prevalence of underweight in children under the age of five, which is a measure of childhood malnutrition—children being the most vulnerable to hunger.
  • The under-five mortality rate, which measures the proportion of child deaths that are mainly caused by malnutrition and disease.
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