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Dietary adequacy of Inuit in the Canadian Arctic

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Abstract Background: 

Food intake amongst Canadian Inuit is currently in transition with a concurrent increase in diet-related chronic disease. There is a lack of current data on nutrient intake and dietary adequacy in this population. The present study aimed to assess dietary intake and adequacy amongst Inuit adults in a community in Nunavut, Canada. Methods: 

Random sampling of 130 households in a remote Inuit community in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada, was used for this cross-sectional study. Up to three 24-h dietary recalls were collected on nonconsecutive days, capturing weekday and weekend consumption. Data were analysed to estimate energy and nutrient intake, to determine dietary adequacy, and to summarise the most commonly reported foods and the top food contributors to selected nutrients. Results: 

The response rate was 69%, with 75 Inuit adults participating (mean (standard deviation (SD)) age 44 (SD = 17) years). Mean (SD) daily energy intake was 9.3 (4.4) MJ and 8.7 (3.5) MJ for men and women, respectively. Intakes of dietary fibre, calcium, total folate and vitamins A, D and E were below the Dietary Reference Intakes (Estimated Average Requirements where available) for 60–100% of all men and women. Traditional foods contributed substantially to protein and iron intake, whilst shop-bought foods were primary contributors to total fat, carbohydrate and sugar intake. Conclusions: 

The present study reports an in-depth assessment of total dietary quality amongst Inuit adults in Nunavut, Canada. The results obtained indicate inadequate intakes of several essential nutrients, as well as a reliance on a nontraditional diet. A nutrition intervention is needed to prevent a continued rise in diet-related chronic disease incidence.
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Keywords: 24-h recalls; Inuit; dietary adequacy; nutrients; traditional foods

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC, USA 2: School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland 3: Affiliation at the time of research: Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut, Iqaluit, NU, Canada 4: Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Publication date: 01 October 2010

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