Which way kaikai blo umi? Food and nutrition in the Torres Strait

Aust J Public Health. 1995 Dec;19(6):589-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.1995.tb00463.x.


The people of the Torres Strait suffer a disproportionate level of diet-related disease, especially diabetes. The Torres Strait Health Strategy identified the difficulty in obtaining healthy food, particularly fruit and vegetables, as a major problem for people living in the Torres Strait. This study examined traditional plant food supply systems and current local production of fruit and vegetables. The supply system of fruit and vegetables from mainland Australia was also examined. Traditional garden food production was seen to continue (mainly to provide food for ceremonial occasions), but had declined because of easy access to store foods, changes in the physical, social and economic environment, limited access to land and water, and quarantine restrictions on movement of garden produce. Supplies of fruit and vegetables from the Australian mainland were infrequent and the prolonged transit time meant that produce was often in poor condition on arrival and prone to continued rapid deterioration due to limited store-level storage facilities. Demand for fresh produce exceeded supply.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Diet Surveys
  • Food Supply / standards*
  • Fruit
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Nutrition Disorders / ethnology*
  • Nutrition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vegetables