China does best at reducing Asian hunger; India and Pakistan languish

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
China has the lowest level of malnourishment of all Asian developing countries, while only three nations are hungrier than India, according to the latest Global Hunger Index report, which put the Far East giant in overall 29th place out of a ranking of 118.

Malaysia and Thailand complete the top three behind China, though a number of other Asian nations still stand out for having failed to reduce their overall hunger rates.

Compiled by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, the rankings showed Malaysia in 44th place and Thailand in 51 place.

The index ranks nations on three equally weighted indicators: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the country’s child mortality rate.

While China has come closest to controlling undernutrition, Pakistan and India suffer some of the highest levels of hunger in the region. 

Ranked in 97th place, behind Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, India is only ahead of Pakistan and three other Asian countries. Currently more than 15% of Indian and 10.5% of Pakistani under-fives suffer from wasting or acute malnutrition.

The index show that Laos, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been unable to eradicate hunger sufficiently, with rankings of 93, 90 and 84 respectively.

Myanmar, Nepal and Indonesia, at 75th and joint-72nd, have also demonstrated a poor record of keeping hunger at bay, it said.

If hunger continues to decrease at the same rate that it has been falling at since 1992, around 45 countries, including India and Pakistan, will remain far short of the United Nations' goal to end hunger by 2030, the index forecast.

It also revealed that South Asia, after sub-Saharan Africa, remains the hungriest region on earth. In contrast, the Far East and Southeast Asia represent low or moderate levels of undernutrition.

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