Inuvialuit in Arctic Canada are experiencing a nutritional and lifestyle transition, characterized by a declining consumption of traditional foods, increased consumption of non-nutrient-dense store-bought foods (NNDF), and reduced levels of physical activity with a concurrent rise in chronic diseases. The aim of the present study was to determine dietary intake of Inuvialuit adults in the Northwest Territories, Canada, using a culturally specific, validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire (QFFQ).
A cross-sectional dietary survey of 213 randomly selected adults (=19 years) was conducted in 3 remote communities in the Northwest Territories. Nonparametric analysis was used to compare mean nutrient intake, dietary inadequacy, and differences in nutrient density among men and women. Data were also analyzed to determine the top food groups contributing to energy and selected nutrients.
With response rates of 65% to 85%, 43 men (mean age 43.2 ± 12.8) and 170 women (mean age 44.7 ± 13.9) completed the QFFQ. Mean daily energy intakes for men were 3478 ± 1474 kcal and for women they were 3299 ± 1653 kcal. For both sexes, protein, carbohydrates, and fat provided approximately 16%, 47%, and 28% of energy intake, respectively. NNDFs were the top contributors to energy (39%), fat (40%), carbohydrate (54%), sugar (74%), and sodium (23%) intake. Total traditional foods from the land, sea, and sky such as polar bear and wild birds contributed 11% of energy and 41% of protein intake. Most participants' daily intakes were below recommended levels for dietary fiber; vitamins A, E, and D; potassium; and magnesium. Mean daily energy, saturated fat, and sodium intakes exceeded recommendations.
We identified nutrient inadequacies and characterized food consumption among Inuvialuit. These data support nutritional interventions that encourage consumption of traditional foods. The cultural and ethnic differences in Canadian Arctic populations require specific tailoring of public health interventions and policy using population specific tools to meet local needs.
Dietary transition in the Arctic is associated with decreased quality of diet, which is of particular concern for women of childbearing age due to the potential impact of maternal nutrition status on the next generation. The study assessed dietary intake and adequacy among Inuit women of childbearing age living in three communities in Nunavut, Canada. A culturally-appropriate quantitative food-frequency questionnaire was administered to 106 Inuit women aged 19-44 years. Sources of key foods, energy and nutrient intakes were determined; dietary adequacy was determined by comparing nutrient intakes with recommendations. The prevalence of overweight/obesity was >70%, and many consumed inadequate dietary fibre, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A, D, E, and K. Non-nutrient-dense foods were primary sources of fat, carbohydrate and sugar intakes and contributed >30% of energy. Traditional foods accounted for 21% of energy and >50% of protein and iron intakes. Strategies to improve weight status and nutrient intake are needed among Inuit women in this important life stage.
Arctic populations are at an increased risk of vitamin D inadequacy due to geographic latitude and a nutrition transition. This study aimed to assess the adequacy of dietary vitamin D and calcium among women of child-bearing age in Arctic Canada.
This study collected data from 203 randomly selected women of child-bearing age (19-44 years) in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Arctic Canada. Cross-sectional surveys using a validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire were analysed to determine the dietary adequacy of vitamin D and calcium and summarize the top foods contributing to vitamin D and calcium intake among traditional food eaters (TFE) and non-traditional food eaters (NTFE).
The response rate was between 69-93% depending on the community sampled. Mean BMIs for both TFE and NTFE were above the normal range. Traditional food eaters had a significantly higher median vitamin D intake compared with non-traditional eaters (TFE=5.13 ± 5.34 µg/day; NTFE=3.5 ± 3.22 µg/day, p=0·004). The majority of women (87%) were below the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) for vitamin D. Despite adequate median daily calcium intake in both TFE (1,299 ± 798 mg/day) and NTFE (992 ± 704 mg/day; p=0.0005), 27% of the study population fell below the EAR for calcium. Dairy products contributed the most to intake of vitamin D (TFE=30.7%; NTFE=39.1%) and calcium (TFE=25.5%; NTFE=34.5%).
Inadequate dietary vitamin D intake is evident among Inuit and Inuvialuit women of child-bearing age in Arctic Canada. Promotion of nutrient-rich sources of traditional foods, supplementation protocols and/or expanded food fortification should be considered to address this nutrition concern.
Limited data exist regarding nutrient intakes and overall dietary quality in Canadian Arctic populations. This cross-sectional study determined the frequency of consumption of traditional meats (e.g. caribou, polar bear, seal, char and whale) and non-traditional store-bought foods including non-traditional meats (e.g. beef, pork and chicken), grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables and non-nutrient dense foods (NNDFs) (e.g. butter, chocolate, chips, candy and pop) by Inuvialuit adults (175 women, mean age 44 ± 14 years; 55 men, mean age 41 ± 13 years) in three remote communities in the Northwest Territories. Using a validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire, frequency of consumption over a 30-day period was determined for 141 commonly reported foods. Mean consumption of traditional meats (1.6 times/day), fruits (1 time/day) and vegetables (0.6 times/day) was less frequent than that of NNDFs (5.0 times/day). Nutritional intervention strategies are needed to promote more frequent consumption of nutrient-rich foods and less frequent consumption of NNDFs in these Arctic communities.