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Food patterns and socioeconomic indicators of food consumption amongst Inuvialuit in the Canadian Arctic

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Abstract Background: 

Inuvialuit in the Canadian Arctic have been experiencing a nutrition transition resulting in a decrease in nutrient-dense food consumption, which may, in part, explain this population’s increasing chronic disease rates. Because the available literature is limited, the present study aimed to document the extent of this transition by examining current dietary patterns and socioeconomic factors affecting food group consumption. Methods: 

This cross-sectional study was conducted in three Inuvialuit communities in the Northwest Territories between 2007 and 2008. A validated food frequency questionnaire determined intake frequency of fruit and vegetables (FV), traditional foods (TF) and non-nutrient-dense foods (NNDF). Socioeconomic status (SES) was assessed by questions on education, ownership of items in working condition used to create a Material Style of Life (MSL) scale and residents in household employed/on income support. Daily intake frequencies were compared by gender and age group using Wilcoxon rank sum test. SES association with food group intake was determined using logistic regression. Results: 

The response rate was 65–85%. One hundred and seventy-five participants were female and 55 were male, aged 19–84 years [mean (SD) 44 (14)]. Mean frequencies of FV and TF consumption were 1.6 (1.5) and 1.6 (1.7) times per day, respectively. NNDF were reported 9.2 (3.0) times per day. The highest MSL score (>12) was significantly associated with higher fruit (≥0.7 times per day) and higher TF intake (≥1.1 times per day) compared with the lowest score (≤7). An intermediate MSL score (8–12) was related to higher vegetable consumption (≥0.4 times per day). Conclusions: 

NNDF were consumed approximately seven times more frequently than TF in the present study, indicating that the dietary transition is well underway amongst Inuvialuit. Participants with higher SES were more likely to consume nutrient-dense foods, suggesting possible cost barriers.
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Keywords: Inuvialuit; fruit and vegetables; non-nutrient-dense foods; socioeconomic indicators; traditional foods

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, Yellowknife, NWT, Canada 3: School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland 4: Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, NWT, Canada 5: Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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