College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences
Food Science and Nutrition Department
BS in Nutrition
Louise A. Berner
The purpose of this literature review is to determine the prevalence of nutrition-related conditions among children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFW) compared to national averages, as well as effectiveness of strategies for minimizing any health discrepancies. MSFW live under harsh conditions, engage in long hours of physically demanding labor, and receive insufficient income. Compounding demographic characteristics create insurmountable barriers to quality health care and nutrition education resulting in disproportionately unhealthy children within the MSFW population as compared to the greater US population. The prevalence of overweight, obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and numerous infections is higher among MSFW children. Specialized health clinics have been developed to meet the unique needs of MSFW and their families. Mobility of health care professionals has allowed MSFW to receive care within a comfortable and familiar context and at an appropriate time of day. Community partnerships have created unity and momentum to promote change. Empowering and educating community members as translators and advocates has improved interactions between health care professionals and MSFW. Despite efforts of existing programs, most MSFW still receive no health care or nutrition education. Implementation of university students as respite care in MSFW clinics will increase the capacity of such clinics during the busiest times of the year. Further research is needed to better understand current strategies and their effectiveness as well as the MSFW population itself, especially on the West Coast.