24 Aug 2015

Study highlights importance of traditional kai

10:41 am on 24 August 2015

Researchers say malnutrition in older Māori is less likely to happen if an holistic Māori world view is acknowledged.

A basket of kai moana

A basket of kai moana Photo: Supplied

The Massey University study, by Carol Wham and Eruera Maxted, found the best way to improve their nutritional health was to acknowledge the importance of traditional Māori kai.

Dr Wham said the study revealed that among 67 older Māori aged between 75 and 79-years-old living in Northland and the Bay of Plenty, 63 percent were identified as being at high risk of malnutrition, whereas for the general population it was only a 30 percent risk for that age group.

Carol Wham

Carol Wham Photo: Supplied

She said those that reported that traditional kai was important to them and were able to access it were at less risk of suffering from the condition.

Dr Wham said those Māori who rated their language and culture as important versus not important also had less health issues.

She said that showed it was imperative to consider cultural factors to ensure older Māori were less likely to suffer from malnutrition.


Kumara Photo: Supplied