A clutch of fishing villages dot the coast near Kilifi, north of Mombasa in Kenya. The waters are home to parrot fish, octopus and other edible species. But despite living on the shores, the children in the villages rarely eat seafood. Their staple meal is ugali, maize (corn) flour mixed with water, and most of their nutrition comes from plants. Almost half the kids here have stunted growth — twice the national rate.
In 2020, Lora Iannotti, a public-health researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, and her Kenyan colleagues asked people in the villages why the children weren’t eating