821 million people were fighting hunger and were undernourished in 2017, as per a UN report. The number has since increased in the world among poor children, people living in urban slums and rural areas and one of the major factors for this is the drastic environmental changes leading to increase in natural calamities in the world.
Presently, two percent of the world’s population suffers from stunted growth due to lack of a nutrient rich diet and sufficient quantity of the same. Every year 5 million children under the age of five die due to undernourishment and over 60% of the total people suffering from hunger are women, as per the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
October 16 is celebrated as World Food Day in 150 countries in the world. The day that marks the beginning of a campaign started in 1945 to counter hunger and undernourishment completed 74 years in 2019. But even after constant efforts of numerous agencies to bring in Zero Hunger in the world, we are faced with increasing numbers of cases of undernourishment.
The worst affected are the poor children and women in the world, with 54% of the child mortality being accounted for by factors arising out of undernourishment.
In the fight to defeat world hunger lies another fight – to find sustainable means to also protect our environment while we achieve our aim. Globally, 25% of greenhouse gases are emitted by the present food system and processed food contribute to a major part of it. While 5 million poor children die each year due to the of lack of nutritional food, 1.3 billion people in the world are overweight; of which 672 million are obese, courtesy to the hike in consumption of processed and junk food.
In the light of the environmental impacts the food production and processing has adopted the theme of Zero Hunger in 2019 which is aimed at nourishing people while nurturing the planet – ‘Our Actions Are Our Future Healthy Diets for A #ZeroHunger World’. According to FAO, ‘This year, World Food Day calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat’.
The food we eat does not have to kill the only world we have. A complete nutritious meal can be produced in more sustainable methods and with reduced use of chemicals to increase agricultural productivity. In a bid to make its contribution towards the goal of achieving zero hunger and also doing so in a sustainable way, Smile Foundation, through its initiative Plate Half Full, has launched projects all across India to provide poor children, adolescent girls and women with nutritional meals.
With association with names like PepsiCo, KFC, Quaker India, Vikas Khanna and more, Smile Foundation is successfully tackling hunger due to poverty as well as due to lack of nutrition by providing meals to more than 11,000 children, girls and women in India. A whole meal not only supplements the body but also the mind.
An increase in the number of children being sent to schools, specially girls, is also seen if a meal – free and made of complete nutritional diet is provided in schools. The meals are made keeping in mind the carbon footprint and waste every plate generates. The preparation and distribution of the food is done is a sustainable manner using more vegetarian options as well as reusable utensils in the centers.
Smile Foundation aims at not letting any child go hungry in the country and is currently providing nutritional support in 14 different locations in the country with the number of beneficiaries and locations served increasing every year.