The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed worldwide food insecurity to its highest levels in decades—more than doubling it in the U.S. alone. In a commentary in Foreign Affairs, published November 4, 2020, Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and co-author Sheila Fleischhacker called for a global effort to fight hunger and protect the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Prior to the pandemic, two billion people worldwide lacked sufficient access to food. An additional 83 to 132 million people are expected to become food insecure by the end of 2020. Food insecurity can have lingering ramifications beyond short-term health risks, the authors wrote. It can adversely affect childhood development, leading to poor educational attainment and worse health later in life.
If governments around the world fail to act to address the food insecurity crisis, the authors wrote, it will result in “death and disease on an unimaginable scale, especially among [the world’s] poorest, who also experience the most hunger and diet-related disease. The good news is that hunger is preventable. But only if those who can act, do—together.”
Read the Foreign Affairs commentary: The Pandemic Has Made Hunger Even More Urgent to Address