The United Nations is concerned about the sharp increase in world hunger last year. 

A report released jointly by five UN agencies says hunger outpaced population growth in 2020, with nearly 10% of all people undernourished.

The sharpest increase in hunger has been in Africa, where an estimated 21% of the population is undernourished.

Children paid a high price: 149 million children under the age of five are stunted because they are too young for their age. More than 45 million children are too thin for their height. 

3 billion adults and children are still deprived of healthy nutrition, largely due to excessive costs, UN agencies said.

Unfortunately, in 2020 hunger has increased dramatically both in absolute and proportional terms, outstripping population growth, the authors of the report concluded. About 9.9% of the world's population was undernourished last year, up from 8.4% in 2019.

The United Nations has said the pandemic is further undermining the UN's goal of zero hunger by 2030. Based on current trends, she estimates that the target will not be reached by a margin of nearly 660 million.

UN agencies called the report the first global assessment of its kind in the era of a pandemic.

Among the UN recommendations was a call to strengthen the resilience of those most vulnerable to economic disasters, for example, through programs to reduce the impact of pandemic-type shocks or soaring food prices.