Inuit in Arctic regions are experiencing a rapid diet and lifestyle transition. There are limited data on food consumption patterns among this unique population, raising concerns about assessing the risk for the development of diet-related chronic diseases.
To assess the current frequency of consumption of foods and beverages among Inuit in Nunavut, Arctic Canada.
A cross-sectional dietary study was conducted among randomly selected Inuit adults from three communities in Nunavut using a validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire. The participants were 175 women and 36 men with median (IQR) ages of 41.0 (32.5-48.5) and 40.1 (30.0-50.0) years, respectively. The mean and median frequencies of consumption over a 30-day period were computed for 147 individual food items and grouped as foods or beverages.
The 30 most frequently consumed foods were identified. Non-nutrient-dense foods (i.e., high-fat and high-sugar foods) were the most frequently consumed food group (median intake, 3.4 times/day), followed by grains (2.0 times/day) and traditional meats (1.7 times/day). The frequency of consumption of fruits (0.7 times/day) and vegetables (0.4 times/day) was low. The median values for the three most frequently consumed food items were sugar or honey (once/day), butter (0.71 times/day), and Coffee-mate (0.71 times/day). Apart from water, coffee, and tea, the most frequently consumed beverages were sweetened juices (0.71 times/day) and regular pop (soft drinks) (0.36 times/day). This study showed that non-nutrient-dense foods are consumed most frequently in these Inuit communities.
The results have implications for dietary quality and provide useful information on current dietary practices to guide nutritional intervention programs.
These guidelines are intended to support community members in educating each other about better food and drink choices to offer in schools, meetings, homes, cultural and recreational events, and in restaurants. There is information presented for various types of community members, from general background information on the
issues facing communities to specific handouts that can assist individuals in choosing better snacks for lunches.