BACKGROUND: The Inuit are commonly portrayed to be somehow protected from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) through their traditional lifestyle and diet. However, actual sociocultural transition and related major, modifiable risk factors have scarcely been quantified in the Inuit population. Such knowledge is extremely valuable in terms of public health intervention.METHODS: A total of 887 Inuit residents from Nunavik, Quebec, participated in a cohort study. The estimates presented were derived from anthropometric and biological measurements gathered at the time of recruitment and enhanced by information collected in the medical file of each participant. All estimates were corrected for a complex sampling strategy and bootstrapped to ensure the representativeness of the general Nunavik population.RESULTS: Overall, 19% of Inuit had a disease of the circulatory system according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision. Among all disorders, peripheral circulatory system disease was the most prevalent (9%). Prevalences of ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease were of similar magnitude (2.5%). No significant difference in disease prevalence was noted between sexes. The major modifiable CVD risk factors were smoking (84%), obesity (49%) (body mass index of greater than 30 kgm2) and elevated blood pressure (13085 mmHg or greater) (18%). Prevalences were globally higher among women.CONCLUSION: The current belief that the Inuit are protected from CVD is seriously questioned by the results of the present study. Considering the extremely high prevalence of CVD risk factors, a population-based intervention reinforced for women is urgently needed to reduce their risk.
The Canadian International Polar Year (IPY) program made it possible to undertake much needed health research in 3 jurisdictions within the Canadian Inuit Nunangat (homeland) over a 2-year period: Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), Nunavut Territory, and Nunatsiavut.
The Adult Inuit Health Survey (IHS) was a cross-sectional survey and provides baseline data upon which future comparisons can be made for prospectively assessing factors leading to the progression of chronic diseases among Canadian Inuit. With the help of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen, which was equipped with research and laboratory facilities, 33 coastal communities were visited; land survey teams visited 3 inland communities.
The Adult IHS succeeded in obtaining important baseline information concerning the health status and living conditions of 2,595 adults living in ISR, Nunavut and Nunatsiavut.
Information from this survey will be useful for future comparisons and the opportunity to link with the International Inuit Cohort, a follow-up evaluation, and for the development of future health policies and public health interventions.
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The food supply of Inuit living in Nunavut, Canada, is characterized by market food of relatively low nutritional value and nutrient-dense traditional food. The objective of this study is to assess community perceptions about the availability and accessibility of traditional and market foods in Nunavut.
A qualitative study using focus group methodology.
Focus groups were conducted in 6 communities in Nunavut in 2004 and collected information was analyzed.
Barriers to increased traditional food consumption included high costs of hunting and changes in lifestyle and cultural practices. Participants suggested that food security could be gained through increased economic support for local community hunts, freezers and education programs, as well as better access to cheaper and higher quality market food.
Interventions to improve the dietary quality of Nunavut residents are discussed.
Aging Inuit women are at increased risk for low vitamin D status due to habitation at higher latitudes, darker skin, and ongoing nutrition transition. Lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentration and higher risk of fracture have been separately reported in Inuit women, with particular relevance to postmenopausal women. We evaluated vitamin D status, forearm bone mineral density (fBMD), and nutrition in Inuit women =40 years. Women (n = 568) were randomly selected to participate in the 2007-2008 International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey from 36 Arctic communities. fBMD was measured using peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Dietary intakes were derived from 24 h recall and food-frequency questionnaires. Fasting serum 25(OH)D, parathyroid hormone, and osteocalcin (OC) were measured using a LIAISON(®) automated analyzer. The weighted prevalence of women having 25(OH)D concentration below 37.5, 50, and 75 nmol/L was 7.2 %, 17.6 %, and 48.6 %, respectively, with older women having better status. The dietary density of most nutrients increased with age, as did traditional food intake. fBMD was low in 3 (1.4 %) premenopausal (Z score
Investigate the effects of selected factors associated with quantitative ultrasound parameters among Inuit preschoolers living in Arctic communities (56° 32'-72° 40'N).
Children were selected randomly in summer and early fall (n=296). Dietary intake was assessed through the administration of a 24-h dietary recall (24-h recall) and a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Anthropometry was measured using standardized procedures. Plasma 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were measured using a chemiluminescent assay (Liaison, Diasorin). Quantitative ultrasound parameters were measured using Sahara Sonometer, (Hologic Inc.).
Children divided by speed of sound (SoS) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) quartiles were not different for age (years), sex (M/F), calcium (mg/d) and vitamin D intake (µg/d) and plasma 25(OH)D concentration (nmol/L). However, children in the highest BUA and SoS quartile had higher body mass index (BMI) compared to those in quartile 1. Using multivariate linear regression, higher BMI, older age and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) intake were predictors of BUA while only BMI was a predictor of SoS.
Further investigation assessing intakes of traditional foods (TF) and nutrients affecting bone parameters along with assessment of vitamin D status of Inuit children across seasons is required.
Rickets ascribed to hypovitaminosis D remains a public health concern among Aboriginal children in Canada and the United States. Our primary objective in this study was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors (gender, age, vitamin D intake, and socioeconomic status) for low vitamin D status of Inuit preschoolers living in 16 Arctic communities (51 degrees N-70 degrees N) and participating in the 2007-2008 Nunavut Child Inuit Health Survey. Children were selected randomly in summer (n = 282) and a follow-up was performed in winter for a subsample (n = 52). Dietary intake was assessed through the administration of a 24-h dietary recall and a FFQ. Anthropometric measurements (height, weight) were assessed. Plasma 25-hydroxy vitamin D was measured using a chemiluminescent assay (Liaison, Diasorin). Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (