One way to think about this is to think about the gas gauge on a car. If someone wanted to solve a fuel shortage it would not be helpful to simply disable all fuel gauges on all cars. Those gauges are actually helpful because they let us know when to refuel. In that regard, hunger is actually our friend. It is a reminder that we need to refuel. But it is also humankind’s oldest and most persistent foe. So when we speak of “ending hunger” we are really talking about creating affordable and sustainable access to food for all people.
Malnutrition is a state of drastic and persistent hunger that has developed into a quantifiable diagnosed disease. Hunger is something we all feel everyday, and those of us who have access to food (fuel) are able to stop and fill up. Young children who do not have proper access, run out of fuel and their little bodies suffer. Brain growth suffers, physical growth suffers, children become more and more susceptible to opportunistic diseases and in too many cases, they lose the battle and die. When a child reaches a severely acutely malnourished state, their situation becomes urgent. Lives hang in the balance.