Nutrition and Hydration Week.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the original author or contributor. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the UK P&I Club.

This week is Nutrition and Hydration Week.  Nutrition and Hydration week aims to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally.  

Having an interesting, healthy and varied diet coupled with adequate hydration is something many of us take for granted. Surprisingly, even in today's times there are some situations where a variety of diet and tasty, nutritional food may be considered a luxury and are not readily available.

For example on board ship there may be other obstacles to overcome in providing crew with a healthy, diverse and stimulating diet.  

In their recent "Seafarers' Happiness Index" * Mission to Seafarers found seafarers rated their food on board to be only 6.26 out of 10.  Even worse they only classified their ability to keep fit and healthy onboard as 6.06.  Both categories clearly leave room for improvement.

Main causes for concern appear to be poor hygiene, bad training, lack of skills and passion from cooks coupled with cost cutting and lack of ingredients.  

Food can be a great motivator and source of enjoyment.  It is also essential for maintaining morale onboard.  Crew, who are often working shifts and spending time away from home, can look forward to the physical and mental boost provided by a satisfying meal. A lack of balanced food in the diet can also lead to low blood sugar, particularly dangerous for crew working onboard, who may even experience signs of extreme hunger, nausea, headaches, blurred vision and shakiness. 

Inadequate hydration also causes problems and in cases of prolonged dehydration seafarers may be more prone to suffer fever, unhealthy weight loss, low blood pressure and even kidney stones.

There are a selection of excellent sources of information related to seafarer diet and nutrition online. In addition, the UK Club has also prepared bulletins on the topics of water consumption, diet and sun exposure:

Dehydration bulletin

Obesity bulletin

Sun stoke bulletin

More information on Nutrition and Hydration Week can be found here

*Seafarers' Happiness Index - courtesy of Mission to Seafarers.  Full survey available here

Sophia Grant

Crew Health Programme Director