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Prevalence and risk factors for self-reported chronic disease amongst Inuvialuit populations

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Abstract Background: 

Chronic disease prevalence amongst Canadian Arctic populations is increasing, but the literature amongst Inuvialuit is limited. The present study aimed to provide baseline data that could be used to monitor changes in chronic disease risk factors and long-term health in the Arctic by determining prevalence and risk factors of self-reported chronic disease amongst adult Inuvialuit in remote communities. Methods: 

Self-reported demographics and history of chronic disease (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and cancer) were collected in three communities between July 2007 and July 2008 in the Northwest Territories. Food frequency questionnaires recorded dietary intake, International Physical Activity Questionnaires recorded physical activity and anthropometric measures of height and weight were obtained. Results: 

Response rates ranged from 65–85%. More than 20% of the 228 participants aged 19–84 years reported having a chronic disease. Age-adjusted prevalence was 28, 9, 9 and 6 per 100 for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, respectively. Compared with non-cases, participants reporting hypertension were more likely to have a higher body mass index and a lower level of education. Hypertension was more common amongst participants reporting heart disease and diabetes than Inuvialuit not reporting these morbidities. Conclusions: 

Inuvialuit participants in this study were most affected by hypertension and diabetes compared with heart disease or any cancer. Female participants had a higher prevalence of heart disease compared with the Canadian average. Primary preventive strategies are necessary to mitigate the increasing rates of chronic disease risk factors in this population. Further studies with a larger sample size and measured chronic disease are necessary to confirm the findings obtained in the present study.
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Keywords: Arctic; Inuvialuit; chronic disease; prevalence; risk factors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC, USA 2: Northwest Territories and Nunavut Public Health Association, Inuvik, NT, Canada 3: Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, NT, Canada 4: Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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