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Learn about the Famine

Hunger and The Human Body

What does hunger actually do to your body?

You don’t have to have a bloated belly or look emaciated to be malnourished. All it takes is continually missing out on key nutrients.

Some malnourished kids may not look hungry, but there’s a silent battle going on beneath the surface. In many cases, basic body systems quit working right — for example, the immune system can no longer fight off illness and the brain loses its ability to concentrate.

Hunger isn’t just a stomach thing.

It affects every part of the body. And these effects can be permanent.

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Brain

Healthy | A healthy brain uses 20 percent of your body’s energy (energy = food).

Hungry | Hunger starves the brain. Malnourished kids fall behind in school — or drop out — because they can’t concentrate (or because they have to help put food on the table).

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Heart

Healthy | A healthy heart pumps a steady supply of blood throughout the body.

Hungry | An undernourished heart shrinks. Literally. So it has to work harder to pump blood — which your body can’t make enough of.

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Vital Organs

Healthy | The liver and kidneys filter out toxins and waste, while your immune system fends off disease.

Hungry | Toxins build up as the liver and kidneys fail. A weakened immune system crumbles in the face of disease.

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Skin & Bones

Healthy | Healthy skin shields the body from infection. Healthy bones get bigger and stronger as a child grows.

Hungry | Skin cracks, becoming a gateway for infection. Bones stop growing — making many malnourished kids small for their age.

Related:
The number of hungry people in the world may shock you. In fact, it should.
Just how big is this Famine army of hunger-fighting students?
So what is malnutrition, anyway? (This activity will bring it to life.)
Where do most hungry people live?
How the funds your group raises actually fight hunger.
People like you helped make big headway against hunger in 2014.