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Impacts Of Food Insecurity

Impacts Of Food Insecurity

The Ukraine conflict has caused upheaval in global food and energy markets, with soaring food and fuel prices putting millions at risk of hunger across the world2.

Food has also been known to be used as a weapon of war. An example of this can be Hitler's Hunger Plan, where German soldiers took control of food supplies in the Soviet Union. Millions died as a result.

Social Impacts Of Food Insecurity

There are many social impacts of food insecurity. Let's look at a few of them

Undernourishment and famine

Food insecurity will typically result in undernourishment, where people do not have access to all or some of the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy living. Those people who are undernourished are basically surviving, but maintaining poor health. Famine is the result of having not enough food for survival. Famine is deadly. In Somalia, 250,000 people died from the famine that occurred in 2011.

Famine is what happens when there is an extreme lack of food. People don't have enough food to survive

Rising food prices

Impacts of food insecurity on human development

Humans need food for survival. The lack of food and prominence of food insecurity has a significant impact on the human development levels of a country. Firstly, let's understand the meaning of human development within geography.

Human development can be understood as the improvement of people's well-being. It is often measured using the Human Development Index (HDI).

The Human Development Index measures the level of human development in a country. It considers three specific factors; the health of a population, education rates, and the standard of living.

How does food insecurity impact human development levels?

The effects of food insecurity are vast; let's take a look at two factors of human development: health and education.

Health

Food insecurity typically results in lower life expectancy. When people have limited access to food and nutrients, poor health is often a result.

Life expectancy is used to measure the health of the population (within the HDI). Life expectancy is the amount of time someone is likely to live.

Undernourishment can result in a variety of diseases, and can significantly affect maternal health. Children specifically have been known to be more affected health-wise, with higher risks of anaemia (lack of red blood cells), stunted growth, and slower mental development. 45% of deaths of children under 5 are caused by undernourishment. Mental health issues too has been shown to be a result of food insecurity, with higher levels of anxiety and depression linked to not having enough and/or a reliable source of food.

It is important to understand the difference between undernourishment and malnourishment. Undernourishment implies the lack of nutrients needed for good health. Malnourishment is similar, but implies an imbalance of nutrients. Often, more unhealthy food is cheaper, therefore people who are food insecure may experience malnourishment in the form of obesity or being overweight.

Education

Food insecurity can cause sicknesses, which means children are unable to attend school. Children are also more likely to repeat years of schooling. When they can attend, concentration levels may be much lower, due to hunger, affecting their ability to learn. Children who are food insecure also tend to perform worse in school, often producing lower grades. This can contribute to a vicious cycle, where lower grades mean people go into jobs that aren't paid very well, meaning that people may not be able to afford (healthy) food.

Impacts Of Food Insecurity - Key takeaways

  • Food insecurity is the lack of access to food and nutrition.
  • Food insecurity can occur both in the developed world and the developing world.
  • The main causes of food insecurity are poverty, increase in population, factors affecting crop growth (disease, water insecurity and climate), and conflict or war.
  • Some social impacts of food insecurity are undernourishment or famine, rising food prices and civil unrest.
  • Some environmental impacts of food insecurity are soil erosion and water pollution.
  • Food insecurity can impact human development, influencing levels of health and education rates.


References

  1. The Food Foundation, Food Insecurity Tracking, https://foodfoundation.org.uk/initiatives/food-insecurity-tracking#:~:text=Over%202.6%20million%20children,past%20month%20(April%202022).
  2. World Food Programme, The day the UN barred using hunger and starvation as weapons of war, https://www.wfp.org/stories/day-un-barred-using-hunger-and-starvation-weapons-war
  3. Figure 1: Drought ( https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Drought_in_a_Lake.jpg) by Sreyasvalsan (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Sreyasvalsan) License type CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)
  4. Figure 3: Empty shelves (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dried_pasta_shelves_empty_in_an_Australian_supermarket.jpg) by Christopher Corneschi/ Fieldafar (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fieldafar) License type: CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)

Frequently Asked Questions about Impacts Of Food Insecurity

The causes of food insecurity include low income and poverty, the rise in population, warfare or conflict, and factors affecting the growth of crops (disease, water insecurity and climate). 

Some effects of food insecurity can be undernourishment and famine, a rise in food prices, civil unrest, and environmental issues (soil erosion and water pollution). 

Food insecurity can also impact human development factors, influencing health levels and education rates. 

Although there are many issues associated with food insecurity, the problem of death seems most significant.

Some of the social impacts of food insecurity include undernourishment and famine, rising food prices and civil unrest. 

The main environmental impacts of food insecurity are soil erosion and water pollution. 

Food insecurity affects many people. Although food insecurity is an issue in the developed world, the effects of food insecurity in the developing world (such as famine) show that food insecurity affects these people the most. Children are also impacted more.

Final Impacts Of Food Insecurity Quiz

Question

What is food insecurity?

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Answer

Food insecurity is the lack of access to food supplies that are nutritional and easily economically accessible. 


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Question

In 2022, how many children were food insecure in the UK?

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Answer

2.6 million

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True or false: the most prominent cause of food insecurity is poverty, or low income.


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Answer

True

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Why does population growth affect food insecurity? 

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Answer

A rise in population increases the demand for food. With rising populations, and higher fertility rates (specifically in the developing world), food supplies may become strained.


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What are some factors affecting crop growth?

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Answer

  • Disease
  • Water insecurity
  • Climate

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Why may conflict cause food insecurity?

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Answer

  • Direct damage to farmland, reducing production.
  • People may flee war-torn areas, reducing their access to food supplies.
  • Conflict can result in high food prices, affecting people around the world.


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Question

What is a good example of how food has been used as a weapon of war?


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Answer

Hitler's hunger plan.

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What is undernourishment?

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Answer

When people do not have access to or do not have enough vitamins and minerals needed for healthy living.


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True or False: Famine is deadly.

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Answer

True

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True or false: civil unrest may occur as a result of food insecurity.


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Answer

True

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What is human development in geography?

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Answer

The improvement of a population’s wellbeing.


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What is the Human Development Index (HDI)?


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Answer

This is the measurement of the level of human development. It considers three factors; the health of a population, education rates, and the standard of living. 


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What is life expectancy?

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Answer

The amount of time someone is likely to live.

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What percentage of children's deaths under 5 is caused by undernourishment?


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Answer

45%

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Why is soil erosion a problem for food insecurity?

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Answer

Soil erosion means it becomes difficult for crops to grow. Animal grazing, deforestation and overuse of the land contribute to increased soil erosion. 


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Question

What is the national dish of Bangladesh?


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Answer

Hilsa curry (a fish curry)


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Question

Jamalpur is located in _____


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Answer

Bangladesh, north of the capital city Dhaka.

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How high does Bangladesh's population rate rank in the world? 


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Answer

8th

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How many people in Bangladesh work in the agricultural sector?


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Answer

Over 50%

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True or False: roughly 1/4th of Bangladesh's population suffers from food insecurity.


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Answer

True

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What are the causes of food insecurity in Bangladesh?

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Answer

Rice isn't very nutrient heavy

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True or false: more than 1/4 of Jamalpur's population suffers from food insecurity.


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Answer

True

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True or False: macche-bhate Bangali means 'rice and fish is what makes a Bengali'.


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Answer

True

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True or False: Practical Action is a charity that helps to import fish to Bangladesh for the rice-fish farming system. 


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Answer

False

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What is the most commonly grown crop in Bangladesh?


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Answer

Rice

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Rice is grown in _____

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Answer

flooded or waterlogged paddy fields.

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True or False: Symbiotic means when things do not work together to help each other.

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Answer

False

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The fish in rice-fish farming fields help the rice to grow by _____


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Answer

circulating oxygen and providing natural fertilisers.


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True or False: crop yields mean the number of crops planted yearly.


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Answer

False

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Question

What is the problem with rice-fish farming needing lots of freshwater? 


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Answer

Developing countries have water deficits and scarcity, meaning accessing plentiful freshwater for farming may be difficult. The rise in population and demand for water could cause further problems.


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