Global hunger is a problem that doesn’t just end when people get fed. The impact of chronic hunger over the course of a lifetime is devastating. Hunger acts like the proverbial stone being thrown into the pond. The ripples of hunger will take a heavy toll on the life of a person who suffers from it.
In particular, children are at more significant risk for severe, life-long consequences. The development of a child requires healthy, nutritious food from an early age onward. It isn’t just children, however. Adults are also at risk for developing problems because of chronic hunger and food insecurity.
Hunger Has Lifelong Effects
The most pronounced impact of hunger is on children. Children can face developmental difficulties as well as becoming stunted by a lack of proper nutrition. These conditions are obvious and pull at our heartstrings, but the impact on their societies is no less pronounced.
As children with developmental difficulties become adults, a strain is placed on their families and communities. These children can face unique challenges that require specialized care to live a normal life. Unfortunately, for many, this kind of care is impossible where they live.
As children who suffer from chronic hunger grow up, their problems don’t just disappear. Lack of cognitive development isn’t the only issue they face. Weak immune systems mean that disease can spread more easily in the population, and more will die or need significant medical intervention.
The ability of these children to work when they reach adulthood can also be compromised. Instead of being healthy, functional adults, they could have long-term issues with muscle and skeletal growth and problems. They may not be able to contribute to their society, which in a poorer region could be a death sentence.
For adults who suffer from long-term hunger, chronic diseases are far more common. Recent studies have shown that those who suffer from food insecurity are more at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic afflictions. The impact of these conditions is more than just individual.
Chronic diseases put a strain on medical systems, especially in developing countries. In countries like the United States, these conditions end up costing everyone. If a person can’t pay for their treatment, it is subsidized by the state, which means that everyone shares in a part of that expense.
Long-term desperation can have a terrible impact on the psychological well-being of its people. Food is a basic human necessity, and without it, people are unable to function. This means that the pain and anguish of being hungry translates into mental and social trauma that can last for generations.
Societal Impacts of Global Hunger
Hunger doesn’t just affect those who don’t have food to eat. The social structures and infrastructure of nations are also vulnerable. Areas that have high levels of hunger and poverty are known to be less stable and less safe for those who live there.
Social unrest can lead to loss of life, property, and security for those in the affected area. It can also spill over into other neighboring countries and regions. Parts of the world that were once peaceful can become dangerous and full of crime, poverty, and despair.
In many countries, there are too many hungry people for societal safety nets to feed. Not only are they incapable, but the presence of so many hungry people also makes creating a safety net almost impossible. It becomes too costly and challenging for many nations to deal with the problem.
This is one of the many ways that hunger perpetuates itself. Lack of supply can cause a breakdown in what infrastructure there is. Areas that become disaffected become more difficult to operate in and are therefore avoided by authorities. This is just one way a vicious cycle is perpetuated.
The Only Solution
While there are many lifelong impacts that hunger brings, there is only one solution. We must all work together in order to put an end to the cycle of hunger. If you want to help make the world a better place and help people who are struggling, consider making a donation to Against Global Hunger.
There is enough food produced in the world to end hunger immediately. One of the main difficulties is getting that food to where it needs to go. A lot of the communities affected by food insecurity don’t have the resources or means to have food purchased and brought in.
With your help, we can change the lives of many. We may not be able to change history, but we can change the future. With your help, Against Global Hunger is feeding people all over the world. Help us make a difference for the people who struggle against hunger every day.