Diet quality among Yup'ik Eskimos living in rural communities is low: the Center for Alaska Native Health Research Pilot Study

J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Jul;106(7):1055-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2006.04.026.


Objective: The objectives of this pilot study were to describe the nutrient intake of Yup'ik Eskimos in comparison with national intake, identify dietary sources of key nutrients, and assess the utility of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) to measure diet quality of Yup'ik Eskimos living in rural Alaskan Native communities.

Participants and design: A single 24-hour recall was collected from 48 male and 44 female Yup'ik Eskimos (aged 14 to 81 years), who resided in three villages in the Yukon Kuskokwim River Delta, AK, during September 2003.

Main outcome measures: HEI scores, nutrient intake, and traditional food intake.

Statistical analyses performed: Spearman correlations for associations between variables.

Results: Youth scored higher than elders despite similar nutrient intakes. Overall diet quality was generally low; 63% of all participants' diets were classified as poor. Although the HEI serves to identify areas of concern with respect to diet quality, it is limited in its ability to detect the positive value of traditional foods.

Conclusions: Traditional foods and healthful market foods, including rich sources of fiber and calcium, should be encouraged. Although traditional foods were important sources of energy and nutrients, market foods composed the preponderance of the diet, emphasizing the importance of appropriately modifying a diet quality index based on a Western framework, such as the HEI.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alaska
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / standards*
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Inuits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Fiber