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The average American will eat 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving. In other countries, most people will eat less than half that in a single day, and many will eat much, much less.
Between 2010 and 2012, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 870 million people weren't able to eat enough to satisfy their bodies’ daily requirement of energy.
This Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, the average American will eat far more than he or she needs to. The average daily caloric intake of an American is now 3,700 calories. On Thanksgiving, that average jumps to 4,500.
Many of us will sit around large tables, eating too much, drinking too much, and avoiding conversations about religion or politics. Someone will fall into a tryptophan coma. Someone might joke that we should clear our plates because people are starving in Africa. We are thankful for the 4,500 calories in our bellies. It’s time to watch professional sports on TV.
Meanwhile, people really are starving all around the world. And it’s worth remembering it on a day of gluttonous food consumption followed by another day — Black Friday — of gluttonous material consumption. Even in the United States, where food assistance programs are being cut, food pantries and charity Thanksgiving meals will be packed this Thursday.
Elsewhere around the globe, things are much, much worse. While the average American consumes 4,500 calories this Thanksgiving, people in these 15 countries will consume less than half of that amount, if they are lucky, and much, much less if they are not.
There are several metrics for assessing and describing hunger. This list is arranged by the number of calories available each day to the average person.
Additional categories include: the percentage of a country's population that is undernourished; the country's calorie deficit, or the daily number of calories that each undernourished person would need to eat to become nourished; and the Global Hunger Index ranking, which uses a combination of metrics to rank at-risk countries from 1 to 78, with 78 being the most at-risk country.
These are the hungriest countries in the world.
Residents drying crops outside their homes at a collective farm in North Korea. (Ian Timberlake/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 31 percent
Calorie deficit: 238
GHI ranking: 51 (tied with Kenya)
A Rwandan tea picker at the Mulindi tea plantation, in Byumba, Rwanda. (Gianluigi Guercia/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 29.7 percent
Calorie deficit: 201
GHI ranking: 41
Undernourished: 33 percent
Calorie deficit: 221
GHI ranking: 62
Napolos Esho sun-dries the remainder of her maize after her crop was destroyed by elephants near Narok, Kenya. (Getty Images)
Undernourished: 25.8 percent
Calorie deficit: 166
GHI ranking: 51 (tied with North Korea)
A health worker protests in Maputo, Mozambique in 2013. (Jinty Jackson/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 36.8 percent
Calorie deficit: 269
GHI ranking: 64
Displaced People at a food distribution center near Goma on May 25, 2013. (Junior D. Kannah/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 33 percent
Calorie deficit: 234
GHI ranking: 61
A child sells peanuts on Oct. 22, 2013 in a street of Antananarivo, Madagascar. (Stephane de Sakutin/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 27.2 percent
Calorie deficit: 176
GHI ranking: 70
Comoran women sell homemade bread at the Volovolo market. (Simon Maina/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 65.3 percent
Calorie deficit: 655
GHI ranking: 76
A boy holds a plate as pupils line up for school lunch in Bulembu, Swaziland. (Stephane de Sakutin/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 35.8 percent
Calorie deficit: 262
GHI ranking: 35
A young Palestinian boy takes bags of food aid from the United Nations in the Gaza Strip. (Mahmud Hams/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 31.8 percent
Calorie deficit: 211
GHI ranking: unranked
Haitian women get sacks containing rice in Port-au-Prince on March 6, 2010. (Eitan Abramovich/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 49.8 percent
Calorie deficit: 431
GHI ranking: 67
A woman selects vegetables at the market in Dili, Timor Este. (Valentino de Sousa/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 38.3 percent
Calorie deficit: 254
GHI ranking: 75
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe samples meat products in Zambia. (Joseph Mwenda/GettyImages)
Undernourished: 43.1 percent
Calorie deficit: 306
GHI ranking: 69
Eritrean farmers herd a team of donkeys into the capital Asmara. (Peter Martell/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 61.3 percent
Calorie deficit: 488
GHI ranking: 77
A cyclist im Burundi transports goods to the capital, Bujumbura. (Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images)
Undernourished: 67.3 percent
Calorie deficit: 581
GHI ranking: 78
Countries not included in this list but that rank below 50 in the Global Hunger Index include: Sudan, Chad, Yemen, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, India, Niger, Djibouti, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uganda, Angola, Laos, Namibia, Liberia.
Add those countries to the 15 listed here, and you've got the 28 hungriest countries on Earth.