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.
In evaluating adequacy of nutrient intake and relative contribution of locally harvested food (i.e., "traditional" food) and imported market food for 164 Baffin Inuit children and adolescents, 604 24-hour recalls were obtained over a one-year period (1987 to 1988). Market food contributed an average of 84% of dietary energy and traditional food, 16%. Total and saturated fat intakes corresponded closely to current recommendations, while sucrose intakes were higher than recommended. Most age and gender categories had a low prevalence of inadequate intakes of iron, zinc, and protein; over 50% of dietary iron and zinc was provided by traditional food. Calcium and vitamin A were obtained largely through market food, and there was a high risk of inadequacy for both nutrients in all age groups. The diets of 16-18-year-old girls were the most often inadequate, due to high consumption of low nutrient-dense food and low consumption of traditional food. Food items rich in vitamin A and calcium should be promoted, and 16-18-year-old girls specifically targeted for education on food choices and health.
This is a short report of a 'safari' held in conjunction with the International Congress of Nutrition in September 2005, in Futululu, St. Lucia, South Africa. Participants were several members of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences Task Force on Indigenous Peoples' Food Systems and Nutrition, other interested scientists and members of the Kwa Zulu indigenous community. The paper describes the rationale for and contributions towards understanding what might be successful interventions that would resonate among indigenous communities in many areas of the world. A summary of possible evaluation strategies of such interventions is also given.