Most Marshallese are Protestants, and as a whole they are very religious. While the largest church in the nation is the United Church of Christ, there are many other Protestant denominations represented, like Assembly of God, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventists. The Catholic Church also has established a strong presence in the islands. In recent years, the Church of Latter-day Saints has also become established. Sundays are set aside for rest and relaxation and attending church services.
The people of the Marshall Islands face considerable challenges to maintain the health of its citizens. Recently, high population growth and crowded conditions in urban areas, have given rise to diseases, such as tuberculosis and leprosy. These conditions typically come about in rapid growth areas of the world that have limited economic and medical resources. In addition, exposure to the influence of Western culture has brought about a rise in the levels of adult obesity, non-communicable diseases, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and alcoholism, and tobacco use.
In traditional Marshallese society, the youth learned essential skills, concepts, and attitudes through direct involvement with family and community. Persons with special knowledge or skills trained selected apprentices to preserve the skills and cultural knowledge. In 1857, the Boston Missionary Society arrived to establish church schools on 22 atolls. The missionary schools continued to exist through German and Japanese occupations of the islands until shortly before World War II.