SANTIAGO – Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean rose for the third straight year in 2017, as it affected 39.3 million people or 6.1 percent of the population, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report released on Wednesday.
The report also highlights that obesity has become the most significant nutritional threat in Latin America, where 250 million people are overweight, corresponding to 60 percent of the population, and 3.6 million join the ranks of the overweight every year.
Nearly one out of four adults in Latin America is obese and 7.3 percent of children under 5 are overweight, which is above the world average of 5.6 percent, the report says.
According to the report, hunger has increased in the last few years as the number of malnourished people rose by 200,000 between 2015 and 2016, and by 400,000 between 2016 and 2017, which shows that the situation is deteriorating.
In Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela, the number of malnourished people has risen continuously since 2014.
In Venezuela, some 3.7 million people are malnourished, or 11.7 percent of its population.
Haiti, however, continues to be the country most affected by malnutrition in the region, as 5 million people are malnourished, or 45.7 percent of its population.
In Mexico, 4.8 million people are malnourished, corresponding to 3.8 percent of the country’s population.
Nevertheless, Haiti, Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic are the only four countries in the region where malnutrition has diminished since 2014.
According to the report, Brazil, Cuba and Uruguay are the only three countries in the region where the proportion of malnourished people is below 2.5 percent of the population.