By: Isabel Wesoloski
Hunger, one of the biggest issues affecting around 830 million people worldwide, both directly and indirectly affects our environment. It not only causes the suffering and malnourishment of individuals through millions of communities, but it also unleashes profound effects on our environment due to unsustainable practices. Throughout this article, we will unravel and debunk five of the most common myths regarding world hunger. By separating the facts from fiction, we can develop a better understanding of global hunger and pave the way for effective solutions.
Myth 1: Hunger is solely a consequence of overpopulation.
Fact: Though overpopulation does drive the demand for food and exhaust resources, it is not the root of hunger. Moreover, overpopulation and hunger can be seen as the consequences of similar issues: poverty and inequality. While hunger is due to a variety of other factors including poverty, food waste, and limited access to resources/education.
Myth 2: Hunger impacts only certain groups, like homeless individuals.
Fact: As there is a common misconception that hunger usually only affects those struggling with homelessness or and unemployment, hunger can affect all types of individuals, backgrounds, and communities. Though it has been seen that hunger affects some groups more than others. Women are accountable for 60% of global hunger. Tragically, children also take up a large percentage as it has been calculated that every 10 seconds a child dies from hunger. This alarming and unbelievable statistic further emphasizes the urgent need to take action.
Myth 3: Hungry is not an issue in the U.S.
Fact: Hunger is most definitely an issue within the U.S. Despite the U.S being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, millions of Americans face hunger or food insecurity each year. In 2022, the USDA recorded that 11.5% of U.S households (over than 35 million people) experienced food insecurity. According to Feeding America, 100% of all U.S counties struggle with food insecurity and hunger. Throughout the world, these numbers affect all types of individuals ranging from young children to families of all types of different backgrounds.
Myth 4: Food waste and global hunger and two different things, with two different solutions.
Fact: Food waste and global hunger are two interconnected issues that require similar solutions. While they may seem distant at first, addressing one can contribute to alleviating the other. Food waste is in fact cause of global hunger. Food waste reduces avalibility of food and increasing its cost, overall worsening hunger. Steps such as that improving food distribution, investing in sustainable agriculture, and spreading consumer awareness combat both issues. In order to reduce food waste and hunger, we must use resources and food efficiently and effectivily to minimize hunger.
Myth 5: Hunger and food insecurity can simply be solved through food alone.
Fact: While providing further access to food distributions would make a big impact, that is not the only thing that needs to take place. Feeding America conducted a study in 2014, they found that 69% of low-income households had to choose between utilities and food. Only focusing on food provision without addressing the other underlying causes would be insufficient. To effectively combat hunger, approaches that need to be taken are promoting agricultural sustainability, improving community life, and advocating for official policies that will address systemic issues concerning hunger.