The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is calculated to measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and national levels. It is a tool used to assess and compare the severity of hunger and malnutrition across countries. The GHI is jointly published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe.
The GHI is calculated based on four main indicators, each of which carries a different weight:
Undernourishment: This indicator represents the proportion of the population that is unable to acquire the minimum dietary energy requirements. It is expressed as a percentage of the total population. Undernourishment is given the highest weight in the GHI, accounting for 30% of the overall score.
Child Wasting: Child wasting is a measure of acute malnutrition, indicating the percentage of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height, which is often a result of acute food shortages or disease. It accounts for 20% of the GHI score.
Child Stunting: Child stunting reflects chronic malnutrition and is calculated as the percentage of children under the age of five who have low height for their age. This indicator accounts for 30% of the GHI score.
Child Mortality: Child mortality is the under-five mortality rate, which measures the probability of a child dying before the age of five. It is an indirect indicator of child malnutrition and health. Child mortality carries a weight of 20% in the GHI calculation.
To calculate the GHI for a specific country, the following steps are typically followed:
Gather data: Data on each of the four indicators is collected from various sources, including surveys, censuses, and reports from international organizations like the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
Normalize the data: The data for each indicator is transformed into a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 indicating the best possible score (i.e., no hunger or malnutrition) and 100 indicating the worst score.
Calculate the indicator scores: Each of the four indicators is given a score between 0 and 100.
Calculate the GHI score: The GHI score is then calculated as the weighted average of the four indicator scores, where the weights are as mentioned earlier (30% for undernourishment, 20% for child wasting, 30% for child stunting, and 20% for child mortality).
Interpretation: The GHI score can be interpreted to assess the level of hunger in a particular country. The higher the GHI score, the more severe the hunger and malnutrition in that country.
The GHI is updated annually and is a useful tool for policymakers, researchers, and organizations working on issues related to food security, nutrition, and hunger. It provides a way to track progress and identify areas where interventions are needed to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.