Each day millions of children wake up with an empty belly and a head aching with hunger. Many will eat just one unappetising meal whilst some will have nothing at all.
In Niger, currenty one of the hungriest places on the planet, there are report of children living in extreme circumstances and eating leaves to survive whilst thousands of young people have been taken out of school in order to pay for food.
The global economic crisis has hit the poorest children the hardest and Save the Children's latest research shows that there are now 22 million more hungry children in the world as a result.
With food prices expected to rise further and a catastrophic crisis looming in West Africa, hunger sits heavily on the watch of today's world leaders.
Top of the agenda
This month's G8 has food security on the agenda but despite the scale of the problem there are concerns that hunger will be sidetracked.
If this happens it will cost lives. The World Bank's latest Food Price Watch warned that rising food prices could surpass crisis levels reached in February 2011 when the cost of basic staples including wheat and rice increased by 25% a quarter. Just in the last quarter food prices increased by 8%.
With the poorest families spending almost 70% of their meagre income on food, increasing prices will make it almost impossible for parents to put a healthy meal on the table.
With meat, vegetables and fruit out of reach, children's immune systems fail, they fall sick easily and lack the strength needed to fend off killer diseases like malaria and pneumonia.
Hunger is rarely listed on a child's death certificate, but analysis shows that malnutrition is the underlying cause of a third of all deaths. Save the Children's research found that rising food prices over 2011 could have cost the lives of 400,000 children.
Oil price spikes which made headlines in the UK earlier this year have also had an impact on the poorest children. Countries which rely on imports to feed the population have to pay more money for petrol to transport food into the country, ultimately forcing up prices.
Many of these countries have an abundance of natural resources but aren't using them to the benefit of their population. Landlocked countries like Niger, Mali and Chad rely on imports far more than countries like Brazil and Mexico who export huge amounts of food.
This price increase has made it much harder for children to put a nutritious meal on their table.
A life sentence
A chronically malnourished child is much less likely to grow to their full potential. Chronically malnourished children - a condition called stunting - earn 20% less than their healthier counterparts and are left with irreversible physical and mental damage.
Tackling the problem early is crucial and saves money. In 2010 alone, the cost to the global economy of child malnutrition was nearly £77 billion.
The world has made significant progress on fighting diseases like pneumonia and malaria because it has the right political backing.
However hunger is yet to receive the investment and political will it needs to make enough progress.
The G8's flagship food security package, made in 2009 at L'Aquila, expires at the end of this year, yet still less than a quarter of the cash needed has been delivered.
More money still is desperately needed for projects that ensure children have greater access to nutritious food.
This could be livelihoods' work in Niger where charities like Save the Children train families to farm more resilient crops or work in India where food is given to community centres.
Save the Children is also calling for a target to dramatically reduce the number of chronically malnourished children in the world.
Agreeing this target will galvanise political action and could save millions of children from a life sentence of stunting.
This month's G8 should present a food security package but with food and oil prices set to rise even further, will it be enough to save millions of vulnerable children?