Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, was the first person to introduce what he termed a hierarchy of human needs in 1943. Typically shown as a pyramid, the lowest level deals with basic needs like food and water, the next level deals with safety and security, and the most complex needs are situated at the top of the pyramid. For humans, food, water and shelter form some of the most basic physical needs.


Food

One of the basic physical needs of a human being is food. Humans are motivated to fulfill this basic need before trying to fulfill more complex needs like education, for example. Barbara Given, a professor at the University of Michigan made a comparative study on nutrition and neuroscience. Her findings indicate that different food varieties give out chemicals that sabotage the brain’s development, especially in the areas of concentration and learning. The USDA launched the “School Lunch Program” to provide low-priced or free meals to school children. The need for food is a basic and instinctive need that people and all other animals have.

Water

The first of four Dublin Principles presented at the World Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, states that water is a finite resource; it is essential for sustaining life and the environment. The principles recognize that every human being has a right to claim the amount of water necessary to sustain life (approximately 5 liters a day) and meet basic sanitation needs. The majority of the worlds’ poor people live in Asia, where people do not have access to safe drinking water. The unavailability of one of the most basic physical needs of humans has led to widespread disease and death.

Shelter

Humans need shelter, which is considered a basic human requirement. The concept is wider reaching than just investment in housing. It is also a need that, if fulfilled, helps to improve the living environment of humans. UN Habitat states that it is the responsibility of individual states to formulate policies to provide human settlements especially for the disadvantaged members of society.

Clothing

Basic human needs consist of food, water, shelter and clothing. In America, there are various resources that help individuals and families fulfill their basic need for clothing. These institutions include the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Goodwill and Opportunity House. The American Red Cross provides clothing to families affected by disasters like fires. There are several thrift shops that make clothing available at low cost prices. Faith-based organizations provide people with clothing without any charge. Many of these organizations rely on donations from more privileged individuals.