Many of the 52 nations where the situation is serious or alarming are predominately ones experiencing civil unrest, the annual assessment says.
However, hunger in developing countries has fallen by 27% since 2000, it added.
The International Food Policy Research Institute, Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe compiled the index.
The 2015 Global Hunger Index (GHI) listed three African nations as the ones with the highest levels of severe hunger: Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia.
“It is perhaps not surprising that the first two of these three countries have been plagued with high hunger levels, given the violent conflict and instability their people face,” the authors wrote.
A number of nations were not included in the latest assessment – such as South Sudan, DR Congo and Syria – because it was not possible to gather reliable data. However, it was known that the population in these countries were widely experiencing hunger and malnutrition.
Hungry for change?
Dominic MacSorley, chief executive of humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide, said: “Conflict is development in reverse. Without peace, ending poverty and hunger by 2030 will never be achieved.
“The time has come for the international community to make conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution a far higher priority,” he added.
The world recently adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 targets for 2030, which included the goal to “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.
The UN SDGs were formally adopted in September and are designed to replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.