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Inuvialuit adults in the Canadian Arctic have a high body mass index and self-reported physical activity

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Abstract Background: 

Inuvialuit in Arctic Canada are undergoing nutrition and lifestyle transitions that encourage decreased physical activity (PA) and increased body mass index (BMI), although data specific to PA and BMI within this unique population are not currently available. The present study aimed to characterise current PA and BMI levels in a sample of Inuvialuit adults. Methods: 

Inuvialuit adults randomly selected from a cross-sectional survey of three communities in the Northwest Territories, Canada, completed an adapted International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and an anthropometric questionnaire to obtain height and weight. Data were analysed using the standardised IPAQ protocol, and the results are presented by gender and age group (≤50 and >50 years). Results: 

One hundred and ninety-six Inuvialuit adults [148 women, 48 men; mean (standard deviation (SD)) ages 45 (14) and 41 (14) years, respectively; age range 19–84 years] completed the IPAQ (response rates 65–85%). Seventy-one percent of men and 74% of women allowed height measurements, whilst 81% and 84% allowed weight measurements, respectively; the remainder provided self-reported anthropometrics. Mean (SD) BMIs were 28.6 (7.7) kg/m2 for males and 30.5 (8.8) kg/m2 for females. The greatest percentage of participants in both gender and age groups fell into the obese BMI category. Self-reported PA was high, with means for men and participants ≤50 years in the high category of PA and means for women and participants >50 years in the medium category. Almost two-thirds (65%) of participants were classified as being overweight or obese, although 89% reported medium or high levels of PA. Conclusions: 

The results obtained in the present study indicate widespread overweight/obesity accompanying high levels of self-reported PA.

Keywords: Arctic; Inuvialuit; chronic disease; obesity; physical activity

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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