Hunger Defined: Terms & Definitions

September 11, 2014 by Jamie Pritscher

There are a lot of terms thrown around when discussing hunger, and not all of them have obvious meanings. Learn the basics of the hunger discussion with this helpful list of terms and definitions. Knowledge is the first step to eradicating the worldwide hunger problem! Help us to fight hunger and give happiness.

      Hunger Defined: Balanced Diet      Hunger Defined: Food Insecurity     
  • balanced diet—a diet that contains adequate amounts of all the necessary nutrients required for healthy growth and activity (Princeton)
  • food insecurity—consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year (USDA)
  • food insecure household—consistent condition reported by households with very low food security or access to money and other nutrition resources (USDA Economic Research Service)

      Hunger Defined: Food Security      Hunger Defined: Hunger     Hunger Defined: Malnutrition

  • food security—when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life (World Health Organization)
  • hunger—the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also, the exhausted condition caused by want of food. The want or scarcity of food in a country. A strong desire or craving (Oxford English Dictionary)
  • malnutrition—also known as “undernutrition,” referring to a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health (Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia)

     Hunger Defined: Micronutrient Deficency     Hunger Defined: Nutrition     Hunger Defined: Poverty

  • micronutrient deficiency—a lack of vitamins and minerals in the body (
  • nutrition—the act or process of nourishing or being nourished; specifically, the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  • poverty—the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions; also, a debility due to malnutrition (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

    Hunger Defined: Protein Energy Malnutrition     Hunger Defined: Starvation    Hunger Defined: Subsidized Lunch

  • protein-energy malnutrition—a lack of calories and protein in the body (
  • starvation—suffering or death caused by having nothing to eat or not having enough to eat (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  • subsidized lunch—lunch acquired with support or assistance of an outside grant

    Hunger Defined: Vulnerability     Hunger Defined: World Hunger

  • vulnerability—capable of being physically or emotionally wounded (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  • world hunger—the want or scarcity of food in a country aggregated to the world level (World Hunger website