Open Access A review of global progress toward the Millennium Development Goal 1 Hunger Target

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Background. The hunger component of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) aims to reduce the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half between 1990 and 2015. In low- and middle-income countries, progress has been mixed, with approximately 925 million people hungry and 125 million and 195 million children underweight and stunted, respectively.

Objective. To assess global progress on the hunger component of MDG1 and evaluate the success of interventions and country programs in reducing undernutrition.

Methods. We review global progress on the hunger component of MDG1, examining experience from 40 community-based programs as well as national efforts to move interventions to scale drawn from the published and gray literature, alongside personal interviews with representatives of governments and development agencies.

Results. Based on this review, most strategies being implemented and scaled are focusing on treatment of malnutrition and rooted within the health sector. While critical, these programs generally address disease-related effects and emphasize the immediate determinants of undernutrition. Other major strategies to tackle under-nutrition rely on the production of staple grains within the agriculture sector. These programs address hunger, as opposed to improving the quality of diets within communities. Strategies that adopt multisectoral programming as crucial to address longer-term determinants of undernutrition, such as poverty, gender equality, and functioning food and health systems, remain under-developed and under-researched.

Conclusions. This review suggests that accelerating progress toward the MDG1 targets is less about the development of novel innovations and new technologies and more about putting what is already known into practice. Success will hinge on linking clear policies with effective delivery systems in working towards an evidence-based and contextually relevant multisectoral package of interventions that can rapidly be taken to scale.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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