28 Nov 2016

Serious nutrition deficiencies in Marshall Islands children

1:57 pm on 28 November 2016

Children in the Marshall Islands suffer from serious nutrition deficiencies, according to a recent survey of primary school students, which suggests why large numbers develop diabetes later in life.

The survey of more than 200 first and second grade students in the two urban centers of Majuro and Ebeye, and on remote Ailinglaplap Atoll was part of a wider study of children in United States-affiliated islands, Hawaii and Alaska.

The Single State Agency Director, Julia Alfred, said the Marshall Islands did well on health, weight and physical activity, but nutrition and access to drinking water and sanitation are problems.

The survey showed that fewer than one out in 10 students eat fruit or vegetables.

The survey took the weight and height of students, tracked their exercise, activity and sleep patterns, and recorded food eaten over two days.

The study was overseen by the University of Hawaii with funding from the US Department of Agriculture.