Prevalence of undernourishment

This indicator is proposed as an indicator for Sustainable development Target 02.1
By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.


The severity of food insecurity is a determinant and early warning sign of possible malnutrition. The FIES based indicators can thus be used as predictors of various forms of malnutrition, and therefore be relevant for target 2.2. A number of experts have highlighted the contribution of the FCS indicator to information on nutrient adequacy estimates, caloric intake, and have also highlighted unique benefits not associated with other dietary diversity indicators. In that context the use of the FCS would also be an added value to target 2.2, 3.1, and 3.2.

Data & Organisations

  • The FAO methodology combines available micro-data on food consumption derived from surveys with macro-data from food balance sheets. The ability of the indicator to approximate access to food depends upon the extent to which existing data allow characterizing effectively the probability distribution of habitual food consumption in the reference population.
  • FAO - Consistent time series for the indicator exist from 1990-92 for about 140 countries. The indicator is regularly reported in the annual State of Food Insecurity in the World Report published by FAO, IFAD and WFP since 1999 and in the Millennium Development Goal Report of the UN Statistics Division. Data on the indicators are published on the FAO Statistics website, at and updated every year.
  • FAO can ensure global coverage (about 150 countries every year covering more than 95% of the world population) annually. For countries that regularly use similar scales, national data will be used to inform the indicators for global monitoring. FAO provides the methodology for calibrating all measures against the common, global reference. Indicators values will be disseminated annually by FAO.