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.
OBJECTIVES: It is recognized that empowerment of Indigenous Peoples through training and education is a priority. The objective was to design a course that would provide an innovative training approach to targeted workers in remote communities and enhance learning related to the Nunavut Food Guide, traditional food and nutrition, and diabetes prevention. STUDY DESIGN: A steering committee was established at the outset of the project with representation from McGill University and the Government of Nunavut (including nutritionists, community nurses and community health representatives (CHRs), as well as with members of the target audience. Course content and implementation, as well as recruitment of the target audience, were carried out with guidance from the steering committee. METHODS: An 8-week long course was developed for delivery in January - March, 2004. Learning activities included presentation of the course content through stories, online self-assessment quizzes, time-independent online discussions and telephone-based discussions. Invitations were extended to all prenatal nutrition program workers, CHRs, CHR students, home-care workers, Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative workers and public health nurses in Nunavut. RESULTS: Ninety-six health-care workers registered for Healthy Living in Nunavut, with 44 actively participating, 23 with less active participation and 29 who did not participate. CONCLUSIONS: Despite having to overcome numerous technological, linguistic and cultural barriers, approximately 40% of registrants actively participated in the online nutrition course. The internet may be a useful medium for delivery of information to target audiences in the North.