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World hunger.jpg


Middle English, from Old English hungor; akin to Old High German hungar hunger, Lithuanian kanka torture Date: before 12th century

For lessons on the topic of Hunger, follow this link.


  • 1 a : a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient
b : an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food
c : a weakened condition brought about by prolonged lack of food
  • 2 : a strong desire : craving <a hunger for success>


Hunger is the most commonly used term to describe the social condition of people (or organisms) who frequently experience, or live with the threat of experiencing, the physical sensation of hunger.

Malnutrition, famine, starvation

  • Malnutrition is a general term for a condition caused by improper diet or nutrition.
  • Famine is a widespread scarcity of food that may apply to any faunal species, which phenomenon is usually accompanied by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.
  • Starvation describes a "state of exhaustion of the body caused by lack of food." This state may precede death.

World statistics

On June 19, 2009, it was reported that the number of malnourished people in the world exceeded 1 billion people, about a sixth of the world's total population.

There were 923 million malnourished people in the world in 2007, an increase of 80 million since 1990. The FAO purports that the world already produces enough food to feed everyone — 6 billion people — and could feed double — 12 billion people.