In the past 30 years, our global food system has changed dramatically. The food that is produced and processed has made unhealthy food very cheap and our food aid system has kept agricultural development stagnant around the world. Since 1980, obesity has risen dramatically AND hunger is up in the US and abroad, and agricultural production has been more consolidated and more chemical-intensive in the West and has not provided necessary food-sources in the developing world.
Below are 30 challenges that illustrate the changes in our food system in the past 30 years.
850 million hungry in 1980.
Over 1 billion hungry today.
The number of hungry in America in 1980 was 20 million. That number today is 49 million.
Average number of food crises per year in the world in 1980 was 15. The average today is 30.
Every 6 sec a child dies of hunger related causes. 1 of 4 children in developing countries are at risk. That's 150 million and growing.
The USDA estimated that 16.7 million children lived in food insecure households in 1980.
Even mild undernourishment during critical growth periods in childhood can adversely impact behavior, school performance, and cognitive development.
Financial impact of undernourishment to economic development in the US each year is between 20 to 30 billion.
1 billion people on Earth are overweight.
Since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled. Rates for children have tripled.
2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese.
1/3 of American Children are overweight or obese. Among children 12-19, these rates have tripled since 1980.
Since 1978, soda consumption has doubled among teenage girls and tripled among teenage boys. 1/5 of all infants are now soda drinkers.
Whole grain consumption in the U.S. has dropped 9% since 1980. Refined grain consumption has risen by 41%, that's an extra 30 lbs of fats and 19% more sugar a year.
Up to 80% of overweight children may have a lifetime of increased health risks, primarily cardiovascular disease - the leading killer in America.
Childhood obesity may cut 2-5 years off the lifespan of an average child in America – marking the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
The U.S. spends $150 billion a year treating obesity related disease - nearly 10% of all medical spending.
In areas of North America, the UK, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Australasia and China, obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980.
Internationally, the WHO projects that by 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight. Over 700 million will be obese.
30% of the Global population is malnourished.
30 years ago, Haiti grew all the rice it needed. Fast forward to now - rice production in Haiti has been cut in half.
In Africa, production of corn has fallen 14% since 1980. The number of malnourished has doubled.
During this same period, the U.S. cut its agricultural development assistance to Africa by 85%.
The U.S. now spends 20 times more on food aid to Africa than it does helping Africans develop ways to feed themselves.
Solutions lie not in feeding the world, but in allowing the world to feed itself. Switching to sustainable farming increases harvests in developing nations by an average of 73%.
In the early 1980s, tight money and high interest in the U.S. burst agriculture's speculative bubble. Farmland value dropped by nearly 60% in the Midwest alone.
From 1979 to 1986, 1 million jobs were lost in farming in the U.S. Farm poverty rates doubled to 20%.
The 1981 Farm Act set high price standards, rendering US agriculture too costly to compete on the global market. Thousands of people's lives were unraveled.
As population increases, the FAO says worldwide food output must double by 2050 to meet surging demand.
1 Billion Hungry + 1 Billion Overweight = The World Today.