Hunger Overview

Hunger Overview

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What's Inside

The key findings of the report entitled 2020 Global Hunger Index: One Decade to Zero Hunger -- Linking Health and Sustainable Food Systems (released in October, 2020), produced by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide jointly, are as follows (please click here and here to access):

• During 2020 India ranks 94th among 107 countries in terms of Global Hunger Index (GHI).

• GHI score for India was 38.9 in 2000, 37.5 in 2006, 29.3 in 2012 and 27.2 in 2020. India's GHI score of 27.2 in 2020 falls in the serious range of the GHI Severity Scale.

• Neighbouring countries such as China (GHI score < 5.0; GHI rank: Collectively ranked 1–17 out of the 107 countries), Sri Lanka (GHI score: 16.3; GHI rank: 64), Nepal (GHI score: 19.5; GHI rank: 73), Bangladesh (GHI score: 20.4; GHI rank: 75), Myanmar (GHI score: 20.9; GHI rank: 78), and Pakistan (GHI score: 24.6; GHI rank: 88) have outperformed India (GHI score: 27.2; GHI rank: 94 out of the 107 countries).

• The proportion of undernourished in the population for India was 18.6 percent during 2000-2002, 19.8 percent during 2005-2007, 16.3 percent during 2011-2013 and 14.0 percent during 2017-2019.

• The proportion of children under the age of five who are wasted (viz. too thin for height) for the country was 17.1 percent during 1998-2002, 20.0 percent during 2004-2008, 15.1 percent during 2010-2014 and 17.3 percent during 2015-2019.

• In 11 countries, the public health significance of child wasting rates is considered “high” (10–<15 percent) or “very high” (≥15 percent) (de Onis et al. 2019): India (17.3 percent), Yemen (15.5 percent), Sri Lanka (15.1 percent), Timor-Leste (14.6 percent), Sudan (14.3 percent), Niger (14.1 percent), Chad (13.3 percent), Djibouti (12.5 percent), Malaysia (11.5 percent), Mauritania (11.5 percent), and Indonesia (10.2 percent).

• The proportion of children under the age of five who are stunted (viz. too short for age) for India was 54.2 percent during 1998-2002, 47.8 percent during 2004-2008, 38.7 percent during 2010-2014 and 34.7 percent during 2015-2019.

• Data from 1991 through 2014 for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan showed that stunting is concentrated among children from households facing multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty (Krishna et al. 2018).

• The under-five mortality rate for India was 9.2 percent in 2000, 7.1 percent in 2006, 5.2 percent in 2012 and 3.7 percent in 2018.

• India -- the region’s most populous country -- experienced a decline in under-five mortality in the period 2000-2018, driven largely by decreases in deaths from birth asphyxia or trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea. However, child mortality caused by prematurity and low birthweight increased, particularly in poorer states and rural areas. Prevention of prematurity and low birthweight is identified as a key factor with the potential to reduce under-five mortality in India, through actions such as better antenatal care, education, and nutrition as well as reductions in anaemia and oral tobacco use (Million Death Study Collaborators 2017).

• For the calculation of the 2020 GHI scores, undernourishment data are from 2017–2019; child stunting and child wasting data are from 2015–2019, with the most current data from that range used for each country; and child mortality data are from 2018. In 2020, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the values of some of the GHI component indicators, and in turn the GHI scores, are likely to worsen, but any changes that occur in 2020 are not yet reflected in the data and scores in this year’s report.

• Kindly note that the data for GHI scores, child stunting, and child wasting are from 1998–2002 (2000), 2004–2008 (2006), 2010–2014 (2012), and 2015–2019 (2020). The data for undernourishment are from 2000–2002 (2000), 2005–2007 (2006), 2011–2013 (2012), and 2017–2019 (2020). The data for child mortality are from 2000, 2006, 2012, and 2018 (2020).

• The GHI score of a country is based on four indicators viz.

- 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).

• 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 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 be partly or fully a reflection of a data revision.

• Like the GHI scores and indicator values, the rankings from one year’s report cannot be compared to those from another. In addition to the data and methodology revisions described previously, different countries are included in the ranking every year. This is due in part to data availability—the set of countries for which sufficient data are available to calculate GHI scores varies from year to year. If a country’s ranking changes from one year to the next, it may be in part because it is being compared with a different group of countries. Furthermore, the ranking system was changed in 2016 to include all of the countries in the report rather than just those with a GHI score of 5 or above. This added many countries with low scores to the ranking that had not been previously included.

[Shivangini Piplani, who is doing her MA in Finance and Investment (1st year) from Berlin School of Business and Innovation, assisted the Inclusive Media for Change team in preparing the summary of the report by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. She did this work as part of her winter internship at the Inclusive Media for Change project in December 2020.]


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