Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Global Hunger Awareness: Going for the Gold

Olympics Hunger Summit

Students play together outside at Lott Carey Mission School in Brewerville, Liberia. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

by Sarah Dickey

The Olympics brings together the most physically fit athletes from nearly every country in the world. It is a time of joy and celebration. But with eyes on the world’s strongest athletes, viewers might easily forget that 925 million people in the world remain hungry. In July, the Guardian reported that the average Olympian eats six meals and consumes 6,000-10,000 calories daily—a foreign concept to people without enough food. The prospect of ever competing in the Olympics is bleak to the 178 million children around the world who suffer from stunting.


Stunting occurs when a child experiences prolonged periods without enough calories during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and the child’s second birthday. It usually leads to long-term health challenges, from difficulty learning in school to diminished lifetime earnings.

London is in the spotlight this year during the Olympic Games, which has led hunger advocates to pressure Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron to turn the spotlight on global hunger problems like stunting and malnourishment. Prime Minister Cameron has announced that a hunger summit will be held on the last Sunday of the 2012 Olympics, to ensure that Great Britain is also remembered for its efforts to solve global hunger during its moment of athletic glory.

The hunger summit will challenge global leaders to step up efforts to improve nutrition and reduce the rate of stunting among the world’s poorest children between now and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

Sarah Dickey Headshot final

Sarah Dickey, a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, is a media relations intern at Bread for the World.


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