Pan American Health Organization


Latin America and the Caribbean is not on track to achieving the SDG 2 and WHA targets for hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. Despite reductions in both the prevalence of hunger and food insecurity in the region compared to the previous year, the figures are still above the world estimates and pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, persistent inequalities in the region affect the food security of the most vulnerable. In particular, the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity was higher in women than men, and its incidence increases as the degree of urbanization decreases.

Estimates show significant differences by subregion. In South America, both the prevalence of hunger and moderate or severe food insecurity decreased between 2021 and 2022. As for Mesoamerica, the prevalence of hunger remained unchanged and the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity increased slightly, while in the Caribbean the prevalence of both conditions increased.

Regarding malnutrition, stunting has shown a decrease since 2000, but this downward trend has been slowing down. In addition, overweight estimates for children under 5 years of age are above the world estimate and this indicator has been increasing faster in Latin America and the Caribbean compared to the world. Obesity in adults, according to the latest estimates from 2016, is on the rise and affected nearly a quarter of the adult population in the region.

Regarding exclusive breastfeeding among infants 0-5 months of age, in 2021 the prevalence in the region and the three subregions was below the world estimate. Finally, the latest estimates of anaemia among women aged 15 to 49 years, in 2019, show that the prevalence in the region was well below the world estimate. These indicators show different levels and trends among the three subregions.

In 2021, the region showed the highest cost of a healthy diet in the world. Food inflation in the region has affected the cost of a healthy diet, there by making it less affordable, especially for the most vulnerable. As a result, close to a quarter of the population in the region cannot afford a healthy diet.

The rising cost of healthy diets further hinders the achievement of SDGs 2, 3, 5, 10 and 12, as it negatively affects healthy food environments and the possibility of developing healthy eating habits, especially in the most vulnerable population.

The region is facing a complex scenario, due to a successive series of crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities and persistent levels of poverty, the climate crisis, and the effects of the conflict in Ukraine. These factors have contributed to rising food prices and food inflation, threatening the functioning, efficiency and resilience of agrifood systems. Thus, hunger and malnutrition remain two of the main challenges for the region.

In this context, regional cooperation and integration, such as the CELAC FSN Plan, play an important role in enabling the implementation and increasing the impact of agricultural and food policies, plans, legislation and programmes. In addition, public and private financing and investments in food security and nutrition contribute greatly to addressing these challenges. Multilateralism and multisectoral coordination are also important to enable the countries of the region to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thereby ensuring the health of all people and our planet.