Rome Hunger and malnutrition kill nearly 6 million children a year, and more people are malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa this decade than in the 1990s, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.
Many of the children die from diseases that are treatable, including diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria and measles, said the report by the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of malnourished people grew to 203.5 million people in 2000-02 from 170.4 million 10 years earlier, the report states, noting that hunger and malnutrition are among the main causes of poverty, illiteracy, disease and deaths in developing countries.
The U.N. food agency said the goal of reducing the number of the world's hungry by half by the year 2015, set by the World Food Summit in 1996 and reinforced by the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, remains distant but attainable.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, on a visit to Rome to meet with FAO and Italian officials, said Tuesday that free trade and economic growth were key to fighting hunger.
About 75 percent of the world's hungry and poor live in rural areas in poor countries, the report found.