Marshall Islands

Where are we now?

A snapshot of the Marshall Islands health status from the 2002 STEPs Survey and 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study.


Body Weight

The 2002 STEPS survey revealed:

  • 62.5% of Marshallese adults are overweight and 31.6% are classified as obese.

  • The average waist circumference was 89.3cm

  • Women showed an average wasit circumference 9.3cm greater than the recommended 80cm. Mens average waist circumference was 89.9cm, 1.9cm above the recommended 88cm.

The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study identified that obesity is the leading risk factors for disease in the Marshall Islands. 


Fruits and Vegetables

91% of Marshallese adults were not eating the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, poor dietary patterns are the third leading risk factor for disease.



29.8% of Marshallese adults have high fasting blood glucose (≥ 6.1mmol/L) meaning they have pre diabetes or diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of death in the Marshall Islands and high fasting blood glucose is the second leading cause of NCD’s.

 Useful Resources


An Assessment of Non-Communicable Diseases, Diabetes, and Related Risk Factors in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro Atoll: A Systems Perspective


Rising Oceans, Climate Change, Food Aid, and Human Rights in the Marshall Islands



Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption

The U.S Embassy in Majuro is taking positive steps in helping to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable disease in the Marshall Islands through increased production and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.Read their report here


Marshall Island Results from the 2014 Global Nutrition Report


Women United Together

This inspiring group serves as the voice for women the Marshall islands encouraging women into activities that preserve and strengthen the values of traditional Marshallese culture. They assist in community surveys, training and engagement in all areas affecting women including health. 


The Kwajalein Diabetes Coalition Physical Activity Guidelines



Active Programs 


Canvasback Wellness Centre

Founded in 2006 Canvasback Missions Inc is a non-profit Christian organisation awarded a grant for a lifestyle intervention diabetes research study in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Loma Linda University.  This revolutionary program is helping people throughout the Marshall Islands reverse the rising tide of Diabetes with a 3 Pronged Attack from for people who are diabetes, pre-diabetic or suffering from other non- communicable disease.  This includes an intensive lifestyle intervention run out of their Wellness Centre, ongoing health education and gardening classes to encourage the production and consumption of local foods. Learn more about it at their website, or read this analysis by their lead dietitian Brenda Davis.

World Diabetes Foundation Education in Lifestyle Diseases Program

The aim of the project is to improve general health and address diabetes prevention through health promotion and healthy living in the Majuro and Ebey. Already a new national school health curriculum has been delivered to 180 teachers and 2,900 children.
Read more here.