“What Are Native Hawaiian Babies Eating? UH Researchers Want to Know” was the title for a segment on Hawaiʻi Public Radio this past Monday, featuring an on-air interview with Marie Kainoa Fialkowski Revilla of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences. Kainoa says there isn’t enough information about what guides feeding decisions for Native Hawaiian mothers during their baby’s first year. So she’s leading a study, “Exploring Diet Diversity of Native Hawaiian Infants,” with the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, the UH Cancer Center, and Purdue University.
The researchers hope to recruit pregnant Native Hawaiian women, who will be asked to download the study’s app and upload photos of their meals and their baby’s meals at certain intervals over the course of a year.
“It’s all about improving the health of the next generation – and they’re going to be planting those seeds,” says Kainoa. “And it’s super easy; it’s on your smartphone. We’re always taking pictures of our food anyways and as moms, we’re always wanting to take pictures of what our babies are eating.”
The Sunday evening before, Kainoa was the guest on KITV Island News to discuss the study and recruit participants. She says the data collected can make a difference in the daily health and wellness choices among the Native Hawaiian community.
“Ultimately, I want the work that I do to promote a healthy lahui – a thriving Native Hawaiian community,” says Kainoa, “I believe a way I can do that is through promoting healthy thriving families, healthy thriving babies, and healthy thriving mommies who are giving birth to babies.”
Study participants must be 18 years of age or older, Native Hawaiian, and must feel comfortable using a mobile phone application to take photos of meals throughout the first year of babies life. To sign-up, call (808) 375-3785 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health through JABSOM and Ola HAWAIʻI.
Photo: Kainoa and Laʻakea Mekaleoalohamaikalewalani Revilla having fun with their food.