Wednesday, February 8, 2023

More than 56 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean

The number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) went from 43.3 million in 2019 to 56.5 million in 2021, which indicates an increase of 30.4% and that around 13.2 million new individuals joined this socioeconomic condition, according to the “Panorama of food and nutrition security 2022” of the United Nations (UN).

This growth reached a prevalence of 7.9% in South America, close to 8.5% in Mesoamerica and 16.4% in the Caribbean. This situation that was also affected by the impact of the pandemic caused by covid-19. The most worrisome countries are Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, the study indicates.

Regarding moderate or severe food insecurity in 2021, 40.6% of the regional population experienced this situation, compared to 29.3% of the population worldwide. Meanwhile, severe food insecurity was more frequent in the region with 14.2% than in the world, which reported 11.7%.

Likewise, there is an increase in the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children under five years of age. In 2020, this figure was 11.3%, about 10 percentage points below the world average. However, around “3.9 million children up to 5 years of age are overweight,” says the UN.

afford food

The new report reveals that in the region there is a population that does not have sufficient means to access a healthy diet. In the Caribbean, 52% of individuals are affected by this situation. Meanwhile, in Mesoamerica, this number reaches 27.8% and in South America 18.4%.

Around 131.3 million people in this hemisphere did not have the resources to afford a healthy diet in 2020. This represents an increase of eight million compared to 2019, and is due to the higher average daily cost in the region, reaching the Caribbean at a value of US$4.2, followed by South America (US$3.6) and Mesoamerica (US$3.4).

The lack of economic access or access to a healthy diet observed throughout the region is also associated with different socioeconomic and nutritional indicators. The report presents a clear relationship with variables such as the income level of a country, the incidence of poverty and the level of inequality.

Also, it was revealed that the increase in international food prices experienced since 2020, especially after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, and the rise in food inflation, have increased the difficulties for people to access a healthy diet.

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