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.
Food insecurity is a mounting concern among Canadian post-secondary students. This study was conducted to evaluate the content of food hampers distributed by University of Alberta Campus Food Bank (CFB) and to assess the cost savings to students, using these hampers. Contents of hampers distributed among 1,857 students and their dependants since 2006 were evaluated against Canada's Food Guide (CFG) recommendations and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). Hampers were aimed at serving university students and one to five members of their households located in Edmonton, Western Canada. One thousand eight hundred fifty-seven clients in Alberta, Canada, were included in the study. Although all hampers provided adequate energy, their fat and animal protein contents were low. Compared to the CFG recommendations, the requirements of milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives were not sufficiently met for clients using > or = 3-person hampers. None of food hampers (i.e. one- to five-person hampers) met the DRI recommendations for vitamin A and zinc. Clients of CFB received Canadian dollar (CN$) 14.88 to 64.3 worth of non-perishable food items in one- to five-person hampers respectively. Hampers provided from the CFB need improvement. Nutrients missing from the food hampers could be provided from fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat products; however, these foods are more expensive than processed food items. The CFB provides a significant amount of savings to its clients even without considering the additional perishable donations that are provided to clients. Interpretation of our data required the assumption that all clients were consuming all of their hampers, which may not always be the case. Clients that do not fully consume their hampers may benefit less from the food bank.
Dietary habits have a great influence on physiological health. Even though this fact is generally recognized, people do not eat as healthily as they know they should. The factors that support a healthy diet, on the other hand, are not well known. It is supposed that there is a link between personal traits and dietary habits. Personal traits may also partially explain why some people manage to make healthy dietary changes while some fail to do so or are not able to try to make changes even when they desire to do so. There is some information suggesting that dispositional optimism plays a role in succeeding in improving dietary habits. The aim of this study was to determine the role of optimism and pessimism in the process of dietary changes.
Dispositional optimism and pessimism were determined using the revised Life Orientation Test in 2815 individuals (aged 52-76 years) participating in the GOAL study in the region of Lahti, Finland. The dietary habits of the study subjects were analysed. After 3 years, the subjects' dietary habits and their possible improvements were registered. The associations between dispositional optimism and pessimism, dietary habits at baseline, and possible changes in dietary habits during the follow-up were studied with logistic regression. We also studied if the dietary habits or certain lifestyle factors (e.g. physical exercising and smoking) at baseline predicted success in improving the diet.
Pessimism seemed to correlate clearly negatively with the healthiness of the dietary habits at baseline - i.e. the higher the level of pessimism, the unhealthier the diet. Optimism also showed a correlation with dietary habits at baseline, although to a lesser extent. Those who managed to improve their dietary habits during follow-up or regarded their dietary habits as healthy enough even without a change were less pessimistic at baseline than those who failed in their attempts to improve their diet or did not even try, even when they recognized the need for a change.
Pessimistic people are more likely to eat an unhealthy diet than others. Pessimism reduces independently the possibilities to improve dietary patterns.