People Live Here: Maternal and Child Health on Isla Isabela, Galapagos
There has been little written about the health of the people who live in the Galapagos Islands. The goal of this study was to better understand the health concerns of women with children less than 5 years of age on Isabela Island, one of the populated islands. Multiple sources of data were collected for this study including in-depth interviews with 20 mothers. Health-related concerns included limited access to specialty care and emergency medical services, which necessitated leaving the island for many healthcare needs including childbirth; lack of a variety and sometimes a scarcity of fresh produce and therefore increased reliance on processed foods with a long shelf life; and concerns about infections caused by contaminated water and the lack of fresh drinking water. Overweight and obesity were common among the women, many of whom preferred a smaller body size. In contrast, many of their children were also at risk for or were already overweight or obese, yet their mothers still preferred a larger body size for them. Despite these concerns, most of the women appreciated the positives of living on Isabela Island, such as its tranquility, its perceived safety for their children and the opportunity for employment and higher income.