The 2015 Global Nutrition Report, produced by an independent group of international stakeholders, contains at least two compelling figures.

The first is that, in an era of great technological progress, the world has an estimated 1 billion malnourished people. The second is that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted each year, enough to feed 3 billion people — indeed, everyone who is hungry with plenty left over.

It’s an appalling picture, one that speaks to the uneven distribution of wealth in the world and one that challenges those who have to find better ways of helping those who have not.

The report was funded by numerous sources, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the European Commission and the governments of Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the United States, where overeating is a common problem, most people have access to more food on a daily basis than they need. Americans, at home or in restaurants, throw away tons of uneaten food every day. The challenge is to find some method of transferring such excess nourishment to those in need.

It can be done locally. It is also possible to donate money to food banks and other organizations that try to meet the needs of the hungry. Many international aid organizations also make good use of donations that try to attack the problem.

The real health burden of malnutrition is borne by the poor of this world, who live in countries such as Haiti, South Sudan, Bangladesh and the Central African Republic. The need is most severe in the places that are hardest to help, given wars, corruption and hostile geography.

But none of these vexing realities excuses those around the world with plenty to eat from striving to help those who are malnourished.

Editorial by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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