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:

    How prompt we are to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our bodies; how slow to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our souls!
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    With fingers weary and worn,
    With eyelids heavy and red,
    A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
    Plying her needle and thread—
    Stitch! stitch! stitch!
    In poverty, hunger and dirt
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
    She sang the “Song of the Shirt.”
    Thomas Hood (1799–1845)

    ... it is only after years and years that you can speak of penury in the midst of opulence, of hunger in the midst of almost sinful plenty. You must never speak of the immediate experience unless and until you have learned its consequent value. Otherwise you grow old in bitterness which is barren and futile....
    E. M. Almedingen (b. 1898–?)