Definitions of hunger from commonly-used references include: A desire or need for food; any appetite, strong desire, or craving. (Dirckx, 2001)
The uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food. (Oxford American Dictionary, 1980)
A physiological need for food; the consequence of food deprivation; strong desire for something; feel the need to eat; have a craving, appetite, strong desire for; be hungry; go without food. (WordNet, n.d.)
A sensation resulting from lack of food, characterized by dull or acute pain referred to the epigastrium or lower part of the chest. Usually accompanied by weakness and an overwhelming desire to eat. Hunger pains coincide with powerful contractions of the stomach. Hunger is distinguished from appetite in that the latter is a pleasant sensation based on previous experience that causes one to seek food for the purpose of tasting and enjoying it; to have a strong desire. (Thomas, 1989)
Hunger is not just the need to eat; hunger, as the word is used by food and health experts can be defined as the continuing deprivation in a person of the food needed to support a healthy life. The more technical term is under nutrition. Over time, hunger slows physical and mental development in children and leaves them more vulnerable to illness and disease. For example, respiratory and diarrhea infections are common in undernourished children, and even diseases of vitamin A deficiency, which can cause blindness, anemia, caused by iron deficiency and goiter due to iodine deficiency. Undernourished adults lose weight, are progressively weakened, and become apathetic, less creative and imaginative, and more irritable. Although acute hunger or famine receives more attention from the world’s news media, it should be remembered that the great majority of hunger deaths come not from starvation but from nutrition-related sicknesses and diseases. Hunger, malnutrition and under nutrition are all terms used to describe aspects of this problem. There is an important difference between 'under nutrition' and 'malnutrition'. Under nutrition is quantitative and means that people do not get enough to eat whereas malnutrition is qualitative and means that a person’s diet is lacking the necessary amounts of certain elements that are essential to growth, such as vitamins, salts and proteins. This implies, of course, that a malnourished person does not necessarily feel hungry. In some areas, under nutrition tends to occur yearly, on a seasonal basis, in the period just before harvest. This is the time when the food stocks of a family or farm community are exhausted and the new harvest is not yet in. There is a famine when under nutrition is extreme, causing death by starvation.
World hunger refers to the multitudes of people presently facing the risk of an insufficient (quantity) or inadequate (quality) food supply, something known as food insecurity. This problem has led to detriments from the insidious, such as stunted growth and a greater risk of contracting disease, to the obvious, namely starvation and death. NUMBER 1 RISK TO HEALTH:
In the final quarter of the 20th century, humanity was winning the war on its oldest enemy. From 1970-1997, the number of hungry people dropped from 959 million to 791 million -- mainly the result of dramatic progress in reducing the number of undernourished in China and India. In the second half of the 1990s, however, the number of chronically hungry in developing countries started to increase at a rate of almost...