Prevalence of undernourishment (% of population)

Definition: Population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption (also referred to as prevalence of undernourishment) shows the percentage of the population whose food intake is insufficient to meet dietary energy requirements continuously. Data showing as 5 may signify a prevalence of undernourishment below 5%.

Description: The map below shows how Prevalence of undernourishment (% of population) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Somalia, with a value of 59.50. The country with the lowest value in the world is Uzbekistan, with a value of 2.50.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Good nutrition is the cornerstone for survival, health and development. Well-nourished children perform better in school, grow into healthy adults and in turn give their children a better start in life. Well-nourished women face fewer risks during pregnancy and childbirth, and their children set off on firmer developmental paths, both physically and mentally (UNICEF

Limitations and Exceptions: From a policy and program standpoint, this measure has its limits. First, food insecurity exists even where food availability is not a problem because of inadequate access of poor households to food. Second, food insecurity is an individual or household phenomenon, and the average food available to each person, even corrected for possible effects of low income, is not a good predictor of food insecurity among the population. And third, nutrition security is determined not only by food security but also by the quality of care of mothers and children and the quality of the household's health environment (Smith and Haddad 2000).

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Data on undernourishment are from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and measure food deprivation based on average food available for human consumption per person, the level of inequality in access to food, and the minimum calories required for an average person.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual