Starvation is the state of an organism that is completely deprived of food, has an insufficient food intake, or suffers from disturbances in its assimilation of food. In man it may result from deprivation or insufficiency of food, the impairment of food intake, or specifically from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Starvation is considered complete if only water enters the organism; incomplete if food enters, but in an insufficient amount in relation to general energy output; and absolute when neither food nor water are taken in. How long life can be sustained under conditions of starvation depends upon varying factors: body weight (the greater the weight, the greater the energy reserve supply); age (children are most susceptible, the middle-aged most resistant); sex (women have a greater chance for survival); expenditure of energy (the less expenditure, the greater the endurance time); and peculiarities of each individual. The maximum length of time of starvation for man is considered to be 65-70 days (in absolute starvation, only a few days).
Between 10 and 15 million people starve to death worldwide each year.
The FAO lists fifteen countries which need exceptional or emergency assistance to prevent starvation: Angola, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, Jamaica, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Vietnam.