In an effort to slash the death toll from child hunger, the United Nations emergency-feeding agency has recruited Italian Formula One racing star Jarno Trulli in a public service announcement that shows the speed at which malnourished children are dying around the world and the minimal amount it costs to slow the rate down.
"In five seconds, my Formula One racing car can go from 0-200 kilometres per hour. Every five seconds, a child dies of hunger - that's 720 children an hour, all day, every day. We can't stop time, but we can stop the dying," Mr. Trulli says in the TV spot for the World Food Programme (WFP).
WFP plays a crucial role in reducing poverty and hunger around the globe, feeding 104 million people in 81 countries in 2003. But, despite early gains in reducing hunger in the 1990s, the number of hungry people grew by 18 million in the last half of the decade - with children the most exposed. Each year, 11 million children aged under-five die in developing countries, with malnutrition responsible for 60 per cent of their deaths. Yet, for just 19 cents a day, WFP can feed a child a nutritious meal in school.
Mr. Trulli, 29, who won his first-ever Grand Prix at Monte Carlo earlier this year, joins a team of international sports stars, who have recently appeared in TV spots to help WFP raise awareness of hunger and malnutrition, the world's number one threat to health. They include world marathon record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya, himself a former beneficiary of WFP's school feeding programme, and Rugby World Cup winners Nick Farr-Jones and David Kirk.
"When I was asked to help the World Food Programme, I was very proud," Mr. Trulli, who races for the Renault F1 team, said. "I have been travelling around the world for a long time and have seen a lot of good and bad things. Lucky people, like me, have access to food but there are many others who are dying of hunger."