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News > Latin America

FAO: Hunger Rises in Latin America, Affects 42.5 Million People

  • A volonteer serves a stew in a charity kitchen in Buenos Aires, Oct. 4, 2019.

    A volonteer serves a stew in a charity kitchen in Buenos Aires, Oct. 4, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 November 2019

The report noted that Haiti proportionally suffers far more hunger than any other country in the region, almost half the population (49.3 percent).

Hunger in Latin America increased in 2018 and affected 42.5 million people, 6.5 percent of the region’s population, where food insecurity also spread and where obesity continues to be a critical problem, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned this Tuesday.

Rural Colombia and Central America Facing Hunger and Poverty

The 42.5 million Latin Americans who suffered from hunger in 2018 signified an increase of 4.5 million over the 38 million reported in 2014, the FAO said at the regional FAO headquarters in Santiago.

That increase took place almost entirely in South American countries, where the number of the undernourished grew by 4.7 million over four years.

The figures form part of the “2018 Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security” report developed together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP).

A country-by-country analysis of the figures shows a great heterogeneity in the war on hunger. Outstanding among the nations conquering this blight is Colombia, which went from 3.6 million to 2.4 million people over the two 3-year periods, along with Mexico, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.

The countries with the lowest percentage of malnutrition, under 2.5 percent of the population, are Brazil, Cuba and Uruguay. Chile comes close to this group with a percentage of 2.7 percent, the report said.

Besides hunger, in recent years overweight and obesity have become the principal challenges in matters of food security.

According to FAO data, 24 percent of the Latin American population, some 105 million people, suffer from obesity, almost double the world average, which stands at 13.2 percent.

And for every individual suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than six are overweight or obese, a problem on the rise in all segments of the population from adults to school-age children.

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