Poverty & Inequality

What is hunger?


You're probably familiar with the idea of what it feels like to be hungry. Hunger is the feeling we get when we haven't eaten in a while and our bodies are ready for more nutrition and energy!

For lots of people, being hungry isn't a problem. When you're in need of something to eat, you can just go to your kitchen, cafeteria, or grocery store to find a meal or snack. Unfortunately, there are many people in the world who can't find something to eat so easily. These people experience what's sometimes called "chronic hunger," meaning that they're hungry a lot of the time.

The hunger that these people experience is a problem. Being without food causes people to be weak. Our bodies need food to give us energy, and people who experience chronic hunger might not have the strength to work or play. When someone is hungry, it's also much harder for the body to heal itself, so people who go without food are more likely to get sick and can find it much harder to get better.

Malnutrition is another problem. Malnutrition is what happens when people don't get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need. This can be caused by hunger and a lack of food, but it also sometimes happens to people who have food to eat, but don't have food that supplies them with the right nutrition.

There are many different causes that lead to hunger, such as natural disasters, war and fighting, or lack of supplies for growing food. However, lots of people and organizations are working to help those in need, and you can help too! Collecting canned foods to donate to those in need can help, and writing letters to governments and leaders can make your voice heard. Ask a grown-up how you can volunteer and get involved!

Further Information

Most people who experience chronic hunger live in rural parts of developing countries, which are places that generally don't have a lot of resources, modern technology, and other advancements. In the United States, the main concern with hunger is food insecurity, meaning that rather than people experiencing ongoing hunger, there are people who sometimes miss meals or don't always know where their next meal will come from, and people who have food to eat but still lack proper nutrients and access to healthy food.If you feel concerned about the ideas of chronic hunger or food insecurity, talk to your family! Ask them to speak with you openly about where your food comes from and what kinds of resources there are in your community for those who are hungry.


Hunger. World Food Programme. United NationsWhat Kids Can Do. Kids Can Make a Difference. iEarnld Hunger: Nutritious Food Tough To Afford. (Transcript). Talk of the Nation