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Please add the profiles of those who died from starvation.

Tags: cause of death, starvation, malnutrition, medical, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, eating disorder, celiac disease, coma, diabetes mellitus, famine, Child/ Elder/ Dependent Abuse, fasting excessively, capital punishment, concentration camps, ghettos, war, poverty, hunger, drought, undernourishment, hunger strike, coma,

Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy intake, below the level needed to maintain an organism's life. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death.

According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the single gravest threat to the world's public health. The WHO also states that malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. Undernutrition is a contributory factor in the death of 3.1 million children under five every year. Figures on actual starvation are difficult to come by, but according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the less severe condition of undernourishment currently affects about 842 million people, or about one in eight (12.5%) people in the world population

Common causes:

Starvation may occur from the actual withholding of food or from the administration of unsuitable food. There are two types: Acute & Chronic starvation

  • Acute starvation results from sudden and complete stoppage of food.
  • Chronic starvation results from gradual deficient supply of food.
  • Starvation deaths may be due to
    • (1) famine,
    • (2) being trapped in pits, mines, landslides, etc,
    • (3) parental or guardian neglect,
    • (4) willful withholding of food, and
    • (5) willful refusal to take food

Causes of hunger are frequently related to poverty. There are inter-related issues causing hunger, which are related to economics and other factors that cause poverty. They include land rights and ownership, diversion of land use to non productive use, increasing emphasis on export oriented agriculture, inefficient agricultural practices, war, famine, drought, over fishing, poor crop yield, etc.

Characteristic symptoms of starvation include:

  • shrinkage of such vital organs as the heart, lungs, ovaries, or testes, and gradual loss of their functions
  • chronic diarrhea
  • anemia
  • reduction in muscle mass and consequent weakness
  • lowered body temperature combined with extreme sensitivity to cold
  • decreased ability to digest food because of lack of digestive acid production
  • irritability and difficulty with mental concentration
  • immune deficiency
  • swelling from fluid under the skin
  • decreased sex drive
  • In children, chronic malnutrition is marked by growth retardation and may suffer from permanent mental retardation or growth defects if their deprivation was long and extreme.
  • Complete starvation in adults leads to death within eight to 12 weeks
    • Anemia is the first sign to appear in an adult. Swelling of the legs is next, due to a drop in the protein content of the blood. Loss of resistance to infection follows next, along with poor wound healing. There is also progressive weakness and difficulty swallowing, which may lead to inhaling food. At the same time, the signs of specific nutrient deficiencies may appear.
    • In the final stages of starvation, adult humans experience a variety of neurological and psychiatric symptoms, including hallucinations and convulsions, as well as severe muscle pain and disturbances in heart rhythm.

Fatal Period: If both water and food are completely withdrawn death occurs in 8 to 12 days. If food alone is withdrawn, death occurs in 6-8 weeks or more.

  • Five factors can influence this period:
    • 1) Age--very young & the old suffer the worst
    • 2) Sex--Females withstand longer
    • 3) Condition of body--fatty, healthy withstand better
    • 4) Temperature--exposure to cold or excessive heat hastens death
    • 5) Physical exertion--active physical exertion hastens death

Starvation statistics:

  1. World Hunger statistics
  2. WHO Hunger Statistics
  3. WHO - World hunger again on the rise, driven by conflict and climate change, new UN report says. 15 Sep 2017
  4. Our Wold in Data - Famines. by Joe Hasell and Max Roser, 7 Dec 2017
  5. The Statistics Portal - Number of deaths resulting from famine per 100,000 people worldwide from 1900 - 2010
  6. The Economist - Famine Mortality)
  7. BBC News Magazine - Does a child die of hunger every 10 seconds? by Ruth Alexander. 18 June 2013
  8. Quora - How many Americans starve to death each year?
  9. The Nation - The World Hasn’t had This Many People Dying of Starvation & Disease Since World War II. by Michael T Klare. 20 Apr 2017
  • The number of famine deaths per100,000 people worldwide from 1900 to 2010 in the 1920s was about 814 people per 100,000 of the global population; in the 2000’s it was down to 3.
  • According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization there were 925 million under- or malnourished people in the world in 2010. This was a decrease from an estimate of roughly 1 billion malnourished people in 2009. In 2007, 923 million people were reported as being undernourished, an increase of 80 million since 1990-92. It has also been recorded that the world already produces enough food to support the world's population.
  • As the definitions of starving and malnourished people are different, the number of starving people is different from that of malnourished. Generally, far fewer people are starving, than are malnourished.
  • The proportion of malnourished and of starving people in the world has been more or less continually decreasing for at least several centuries. This is due to an increasing supply of food and to overall gains in economic efficiency. In 40 years, the proportion of malnourished people in the developing world has been more than halved. The proportion of starving people has decreased even faster.
  • After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 per cent of the global population, says a new edition of the annual United Nations report on world food security and nutrition released today. At the same time, multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide.
    • The increase – 38 million more people than the previous year – is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks, according to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017.
    • Some 155 million children aged under five are stunted (too short for their age), the report says, while 52 million suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height. An estimated 41 million children are now overweight. Anaemia among women and adult obesity are also cause for concern. These trends are a consequence not only of conflict and climate change but also of sweeping changes in dietary habits as well as economic slowdowns.

Notables dying from Starvation:

  1. Rankers - Famous People Who Died of Starvation 18 listed
  2. Wikipedia - List of people who died of starvation
  • William Latham, “Mayflower” Passenger (1609-bet 1645 & 1651)
  • Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) -suffered from Anorexia mirabilis
  • Ana Carolina Reston (1984-2006) - Brazilian fashion model; thought she was too fat & became anorexic ({ Wikipedia - Ana Carolina Reston])
  • Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) - an Austrian, and later American, logician, mathematician, and philosopher. Obsessed with getting poisoned & would eat only food prepared by his wife. She became ill & was hospitalized for 6 months resulting in his death by starvation.
  • Christopher Johnson McCandless (1968-1992) - American adventurer; unsuccessful in living off the land in Alaska & starved to death
  • Robert Gerard “Bobby” Sands (1954-1981) - Provisional Irish Republican Army member; led hunger strike & died 66 days into his strike
  • Carl Schlechter (1874-1918) Austrian chess master & theoretician. During WWI in Europe food was scarce & died of starvation
  • Livilla (12 BC-31) daughter of Nero; accused of poisoning her husband, Drusus Julius Cesar; locked in her bedroom & starved to death
  • Julia Livilla - youngest sister of Emperor Caligula; accused of committing adultery with Seneca the Younger, exiled & executed by starvation
  • Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) - South Pole explorer, died of exhaustion, cold & starvation in attempt to return home
  • Edith Frank (1900-1945) - mother of Anne Frank; died of starvation in Auschwitz because she hid her rations of food for her daughters instead of eating herself
  • Orlando Zapata (1967-2010) - Cuban plumber, mason, political activist; Imprisoned for contempt, public disorder & disobedience; hunger strike & fasted x 80 days before dying of starvation
  • Floyd Collins (1887-1925) - American cave explorer; trapped in Mammoth Cave system that collapsed; died 14 day later of thirst & starvation; (Wikipedia - Floyd Collins; Find A Grave - Floyd Collins)
  • Lady Arbella Stuart (1575-1615) - noblewoman, possible successor to Queen Elizabeth I of England; Imprisoned in Tower of London, refused to eat & died of starvation
  • Alexey Troitsky (1866-1942) - Russian founder of modern art of composing chess studies; died of starvation in WWII at the siege of Leningrad in 1942; (Wikipedia - Alexey Troitsky; The Chesspedia - Troitsky, Alexey (1866-1942))

References & additional reading:

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