Hunger Overview

Hunger Overview

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As per the report titled 2022 Global Hunger Index: Food Systems Transformation and Local Governance' (released in October 2022), which has been produced by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide jointly (please click here and here to access):

• In 2022, India ranks 107th among 121 countries in terms of the Global Hunger Index (GHI).

• As per the 2022 Global Hunger report, the GHI scores for India were 38.8 in 2000, 36.3 in 2007, 28.2 in 2014, and 29.1 in 2022. India's GHI score of 29.1 in 2022 falls in the serious range of the GHI Severity Scale.

• For India, the absolute change in GHI score since 2014 was 0.9 points and the percentage change in the same since 2014 was 3.2 percent.

• India’s child wasting rate, at 19.3 percent, is the highest of any country in the world and drives up the South Asia region’s average owing to India’s large population. The child wasting rates are also very high in Sudan, Yemen, and Sri Lanka. India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan each have child stunting rates between 35 and 38 percent, with Afghanistan’s rate being the highest in the South Asia region. Stunting disparities between districts or counties were particularly pronounced in Honduras, India, Nigeria, and Viet Nam. 

• The example of India shows the importance of considering the subnational context when designing programs and policies to target child stunting. Researchers investigated the factors that contributed to a decline in stunting in four Indian states between 2006 and 2016: Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu. They found that stunting fell mainly in response to improvements in the coverage of health and nutrition interventions, household conditions (such as socio-economic status and food security), and maternal factors (such as mothers’ health and education). While improvements in household conditions were the most important factor for each of the four states, the second most important factor varies by state. As the authors conclude, this variability across states “indicates the need for contextualized policy and programmatic initiatives to help focus the efforts in the sectors that need the most attention for continued decline in stunting” (Avula et al. 2022, 10).

• For the 2022 GHI report, data were assessed for 136 countries. Out of these, there were sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores for and rank 121 countries (by way of comparison, 116 countries were ranked in the 2021 report).

Neighbouring countries such as China (GHI score < 5.0; GHI rank: Collectively ranked 1–17 out of 121 countries), Sri Lanka (GHI score: 13.6; GHI rank: 64), Myanmar (GHI score: 15.6; GHI rank: 71), Nepal (GHI score: 19.1; GHI rank: 81), Bangladesh (GHI score: 19.6; GHI rank: 84), and Pakistan (GHI score: 26.1; GHI rank: 99) have outperformed India (GHI score: 29.1; GHI rank: 107 out of 121 countries).

• The 17 countries (including China) with 2022 GHI scores of less than 5 are not assigned individual ranks, but rather are collectively ranked 1–17. Differences between their scores are minimal.

•  Countries that have identical 2022 scores are given the same ranking (for example, Costa Rica and United Arab Emirates are both ranked 18th). 

• In comparison to India's GHI score of 29.1 in 2022, GHI's score for the world was 18.2, for South Asia was 27.4 and for East and Southeast Asia was 8.2.

• The proportion of undernourished in the population for India was 18.4 percent during 2000, 17.5 percent during 2007, 14.8 percent during 2014 and 16.3 percent during 2022.

• The proportion of children under the age of five who are wasted (i.e., too thin for height) for India was 17.1 percent during 2000, 20.0 percent during 2007, 15.1 percent during 2014 and 19.3 percent during 2022.

• The proportion of children under the age of five who are stunted (i.e., too short for age) for India was 54.2 percent during 2000, 47.8 percent during 2007, 38.7 percent during 2014 and 35.5 percent during 2022.

• The under-five mortality rate for India was 9.2 percent in 2000, 6.8 percent in 2007, 4.6 percent in 2014 and 3.3 percent in 2022.

• Kindly note that the data for GHI scores, child stunting, and child wasting are from 1998–2002 (2000), 2005–2009 (2007), 2012–2016 (2014), and 2017–2021 (2022). Data for undernourishment are from 2000–2002 (2000), 2006–2008 (2007), 2013–2015 (2014), and 2019–2021 (2022). Data for child mortality are from 2000, 2007, 2014, and 2020.

• The GHI score of a country is based on four indicators i.e.,

- Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
- Child Wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
- Child Stunting: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
- Child Mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Please click here to access the formula for the calculation of the GHI scores. 

• Each of the four component indicators (discussed above) is given a standardized score on a 100-point scale based on the highest observed level for the indicator on a global scale in recent decades.

• Standardized scores are aggregated to calculate the GHI score for each country. Undernourishment and child mortality each contribute one-third of the GHI score, while the child undernutrition indicators—child wasting and child stunting—each contribute one-sixth of the score. In the case of GHI, 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

• GHI scores are comparable within each year’s report, but not between different years’ reports. The current and historical data on which the GHI scores are based are continually being revised and improved by the United Nations agencies that compile them, and each year’s GHI report reflects these changes. Comparing scores between reports may create the impression that hunger has changed positively or negatively in a specific country from year to year, whereas in some cases the change may partly or fully reflect a data revision. 

Moreover, the methodology for calculating GHI scores has been revised in the past and may be revised again in the future. In 2015, for example, the GHI methodology was changed to include data on child stunting and wasting and to standardize the values (see Wiesmann et al. 2015). This change caused a major shift in the GHI scores, and the GHI Severity of Hunger Scale was modified to reflect this shift. In the GHI reports published since 2015, almost all countries have had much higher GHI scores compared with their scores in reports published in 2014 and earlier. This does not necessarily mean their hunger levels rose in 2015—the higher scores merely reflect the revision of the methodology. The 2000, 2007, 2014, and 2022 GHI scores shown in this year’s report are all comparable because they all reflect the revised methodology and the latest revisions of data.

• Like the GHI scores and indicator values, GHI rankings cannot be compared between GHI reports, for two main reasons. First, the data and methodology used to calculate GHI scores have been revised over time, as described above. Second, the ranking in each year’s report often includes different countries because the set of countries for which sufficient data are available to calculate GHI scores varies from year to year. Thus, if a country’s ranking changes from one report to the next, this may be in part because it is being compared with a different group of countries.

• To track a country’s GHI performance over time, each report includes GHI scores and indicator data for three reference years. In the 2022 report, India’s GHI score of 2022 can be directly compared with its GHI scores for 2000, 2007, and 2014.
• For India’s 2022 GHI score, data on the four component indicators came from various sources. As said earlier, each of the indicator values is standardized and weighted. The standardized scores are aggregated to calculate the GHI score for each country.  

• Undernourishment values are taken from FAO Data: Suite of Food Security Indicators. Accessed on July 14, 2022. The FAO's telephone-based indicator that includes information from a poll taken by Gallup – the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) – is NOT used in the GHI. The GHI uses the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) indicator, which is assessed by FAO using Food Balance Sheet data from each country. It measures the proportion of the population with inadequate access to calories and is based on data regarding the food supply in the country.

• Child stunting and wasting data taken are from WHO 2022; UNICEF, WHO, and World Bank 2022; UNICEF 2022a, 2013, and 2009; MEASURE Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) 2022.

• Under-five mortality rates are taken from the 2021 edition of the UN IGME (Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation) Child Mortality Estimates (published in 2021, accessed on April 25, 2022). 

• FAO produces an entire suite of indicators on food security. Of these, two are most important and recognised globally as indicators to monitor progress of SDG Target 2.1. These are: 1) Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU), which is an estimate of the proportion of population whose habitual dietary intake is less than the minimum dietary energy requirement that is required for normal, active and healthy living, and 2) Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity (PMSFI), which is based on Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) and estimates the proportion of population that faces constrained access to food of adequate quality and quantity.

• Of these two indicators published by FAO, GHI uses only PoU, which is a measure of proportion of population facing chronic deficiency of dietary energy intake. Prevalence of Undernourishment takes into account average per capita availability of food supply as obtained through carefully constructed food balance sheets. Food balance sheets are primarily based on data officially reported by the member countries including India. PoU also takes into account distribution of calorie intake in the population (as estimated through official consumption surveys conducted by governments including India), as well as calorie requirement of the population (based on data on age distribution for men and women, distribution of heights and other key determinants of dietary energy requirements). All data compiled by FAO – including data officially reported by the member countries, data available from other public sources, and estimates made by FAO – are made public by FAO with detailed documentation of how these are obtained. The GHI does not use Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity (PMSFI), which is based on Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) and estimates the proportion of population that faces constrained access to food of adequate quality and quantity.

• Further details on the PoU methodology can be found in Annex 1B (p.162) of FAO’s State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World 2022 and on the FAO webpage


Kindly click here and here to access the Statement of Ministry of Women and Child Development on Global Hunger Report 2022 dated 15th October, 2022.

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