Objectives: To determine whether dietary westernization is associated with intake of select nutrients among Alaska Natives living in remote communities. To investigate participant characteristics associated with adherence to the traditional Alaska Native diet.
Study design: Cross-sectional survey.
Methods: A 24-hour recall was collected from 241 men and 307 women aged 14-94 years living in seven remote communities of Western Alaska. Bivariate analyses and ANOVA were used to examine the relationship between energy from traditional foods (the primary variable of interest), participant characteristics and intake of select nutrients.
Results: Traditional foods accounted for 22% of energy intake.overall. This estimate varied by age, educational attainment, and geographic location. Participants in the highest quintile of traditional food intake consumed significantly more vitamin A, vitamin D, Vitamin E, Iron, and n-3 fatty acids than participants in the lowest quintile (p < 0.001). Intake of vitamin C, calcium, and total dietary fiber decreased with increased consumption of traditional foods (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The degree of dietary westernization contributes to nutrient intake, both positively and negatively, in a dose response manner. Participant characteristics, particularly age, must be addressed in the development of a nutrition education program since they are associated with distinct dietary intakes.