A UN food agency said a record 1.02 billion people are hungry across the world, or one-sixth of humanity.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said the historic high is the result of the financial downturn combined with persistently high food prices.
The number of hungry people is about 100 million higher than last year.
The agency's Director-General Jacques Diouf said the hunger crisis "poses a serious risk for world peace and security."
The Rome-based FAO said in the report released Friday that almost all the world's undernourished live in developing countries.
Some 642 million are hungry in the Asia and the Pacific region, and 265 million in Sub-Saharan Africa.