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Nutrient intakes, major food sources and dietary inadequacies of Inuit adults living in three remote communities in Nunavut, Canada

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Inuit in Nunavut, Canada, are currently undergoing a nutritional transition that may contribute to an increased prevalence of chronic disease. Information is lacking about the extent to which contemporary Inuit diets are meeting current dietary recommendations.

A culturally appropriate quantitative food frequency questionnaire (QFFQ) developed and validated for Inuit in Nunavut, Canada, was used to assess food and nutrient intake in a cross‐sectional sample of adults.

Participants included 175 women and 36 men with mean (SD) ages of 42.4 (13.2) and 42.1 (15.0) years, respectively. The response rate for those who completed the study was 79% with 208 QFFQs included for analysis. Reported mean daily energy intakes were: men 15 171 kJ (3626 kcal); women 11 593 kJ (2771 kcal). Dietary inadequacy was expressed as the percentage of participants reporting intakes below the sex‐ and age‐specific estimated average requirements (EARs). For nutrients without EARs, adequate intakes were used. Energy and sodium intakes exceeded the recommendations. Less than 10% of participants met recommendations for dietary fibre intake. Vitamin E intakes were below EARs for ≥97% of participants, whereas >20% reported inadequate vitamin A, folate and magnesium intakes. Among women, >50% reported inadequate calcium and vitamin D intakes. Non‐nutrient‐dense foods contributed 30% of energy, 73% of sugars and 22% of fat. Traditional foods contributed 56% of protein and 49% of iron.

The present study demonstrates a relatively high prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes among Inuit. The results may be used to monitor the nutrition transition among Inuit, evaluate nutritional interventions, and inform public health policy decision‐making.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-12-01

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