Globally, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that malnutrition and stunting costs $1.4 trillion to $2.1 trillion a year, the equivalent of 2 to 3 percent of global GDP in lost economic productivity.
Hunger has a cost. And it starts at birth, especially for those children who suffer from under-nutrition during their first thousand days–from conception until their second birthday.
School feeding programs are recognized as one of the most powerful tools in helping end the obscenity of global hunger. This is the reason such programs have been the primary focus of Stop Hunger Now’s relief and development efforts.
Yet, it is now acknowledged that the ravages of malnutrition during the first two years of a child’s life cannot be undone with school feeding programs. Once a child is physically and mentally stunted during this critical developmental stage they can never fully catch up.
That loss is felt not only by each child. That loss also has an impact on their communities and their countries. Ultimately, the entire global economy suffers.
Hunger has an economic cost that we can measure, but it has an even higher moral and spiritual cost. And this is the cost that cannot be calculated. It’s the cost each of us pays for allowing this unnecessary tragedy to continue when we know we could stop it.