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Price Effect2 2011 Global Hunger Index

Fact and Findings: Asia

South Asia has the highest regional 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) score—22.6. The 2011 GHI score fell by 25 percent in South Asia compared with its 1990 score, and the 2011 GHI score in Southeast Asia decreased by 44 percent.

The South Asia region reduced its GHI score by more than 6 points between 1990 and 1996—mainly due to a large decline in underweight in children under five, but the fast progress was not maintained. South

Asia has lowered its GHI score by only one point since 2001 despite strong economic growth. Social inequality and the low nutritional, educational, and social status of women, which is a major cause of child under nutrition in the region, have impeded improvements in the GHI score.

Bangladesh and Vietnam saw large gains in improving their GHI score between the 1990 GHI and the 2011 GHI. Vietnam reduced its score by 56 percent, and Bangladesh reduced its score by 36 percent.

In Bangladesh—a country where 25 percent of the population is ultra-poor (living on less than USD $0.50 a day)—only about 7 percent of the population has access to social protection or safety net programs.

The GHI score for North Korea increased by 18 percent since 1990. A weak economy, high military spending, weather-related crop failures, and systematic problems in the agricultural sector have hampered progress.

Cambodia is the only country to improve from an “extremely larming” to “serious” level of hunger since 1990.

Bangladesh, India, and Timor-Leste have the highest prevalence—more than 40 percent—of underweight in children under five.