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What Are Native Hawaiian Babies Eating? UH Researchers Want to Know

Becca Hiraishi

Researchers at the University of Hawai?i want to know more about Native Hawaiian dietary habits. For some of the answers, they’re looking to expectant mothers and their babies.

UH M?noa nutrition professor Marie Kainoa Revilla says there isn’t enough information about what guides feeding decisions for Native Hawaiian mothers during baby’s first year.

“It’s all about improving the health of the next generation and they’re going to be planting those seeds that we’ll be able to use to really have a thriving lahui, a thriving Native Hawaiian community,” says Revilla.

Revilla, as Associate Professor of Human Nutrition at UH M?noa, is leading the study on “Exploring Diet Diversity of Native Hawaiian Infants” in collaboration with the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, the UH Cancer Center, and Purdue University.

She’s looking for pregnant Native Hawaiian women 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.

“And it’s super easy, it’s on your smartphone,” says Revilla, “We’re always taking pictures of our food anyways and as a mom, we’re always wanting to take pictures of what our babies are eating.”

The study is funded by the National Institute of Health through JABSOM and Ola HAWAI?I. Revilla says the data collected through this study can make a difference in daily health and wellness choices in the Native Hawaiian community.

“Ultimately, I want the work that I do, to promote a healthy, thriving lahui,” says Revilla, “And I believe that a way that I can do that is through promoting healthy thriving families, healthy thriving babies, 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 or for more information call (808)375-3785 or email

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