Hunger is the physical sensation of desiring food. Even the highly privileged sometimes experience mild hunger; brief experiences of the condition are not usually harmful. When politicians, relief workers and social scientists talk about people suffering from hunger, they usually refer to those who are unable to eat sufficient food to meet their basic nutritional needs for sustained periods of time.

Throughout history, a large proportion of the world's population have often experienced severe hunger. In many cases this resulted from disruptions to the food supply caused by war, plagues or adverse weather changes. For the first few decades after World War II, technological progress and enhanced political cooperation suggested it might be possible to substantially reduce the number of people suffering from hunger. While progress had been uneven, by 2000 the threat of extreme hunger has subsided for a great many of the world's people, especially in countries such as Brazil and Malaysia. The Millennium Development Goals included a commitment to achieve a further 50% reduction in the number of people suffering from extreme hunger by 2015. As of 2012, this target looks unlikely to be met; over the last few years the number of people suffering from hunger has stopped falling, rising sharply in 2007 and 2008.

Until 2006, the average international price of food had been largely stable for several decades. But in the closing months of 2006 it began to rise at a rapid rate. By 2008 the price of rice had more than tripled in some regions, which had an especially severe impact in developing countries. The 2008 worldwide financial crisis further increased the number of people suffering from hunger, including dramatic increases even in advanced economies such as Great Britain, the Eurozone and the United States. By mid-2012, about one billion people were suffering from chronic hunger, which is an increase of close to 200 million since the beginning of the century. According to the United Nation's World Food Programme, a child dies from hunger every six seconds.

Read more about Hunger:  As A Physical Condition, Malnutrition, Famine, Starvation, World Statistics, Politics of Hunger, The Fight Against Hunger, In The United States, Hunger and Gender

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Famous quotes containing the word hunger:

    As hunger is cured by food, so ignorance is cured by study.
    Chinese proverb.

    From the gut comes the strut, and where hunger reigns, strength abstains.
    François Rabelais (1494–1553)

    It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it ... and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied ... and it is all one.
    M.F.K. Fisher (b. 1908)