Changing dietary patterns and body mass index over time in Canadian Inuit communities

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2011;70(5):511-9. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v70i5.17863. Epub 2011 Dec 2.


Objectives: The International Polar Year (IPY) Inuit Health Survey provided an opportunity to compare dietary and body mass index (BMI) data with data collected a decade earlier for the same communities.

Study design: A dietary survey included 1,929 randomly selected participants aged 15 years or older, selected from 18 Inuit communities in 1998-1999. The IPY survey included 2,595 randomly selected participants aged 18 years or older, selected from 36 Inuit communities in 2007-2008. Data from the same 18 communities included in both surveys were compared for adults 20 years and older.

Methods: Twenty-four-hour dietary recall data were analysed to assess the percentage of energy from traditional and market foods by sex and age groups. Body mass index (BMI) was assessed to establish the prevalence of obesity by sex and age groups in both surveys.

Results: There was a significant decrease (p≤0.05) in energy contribution from traditional food and a significant increase in market food consumption over time. Sugar-sweetened beverages, chips and pasta all increased as percentages of energy. BMI increased overall for women and for each age stratum evaluated (p<0.05).

Conclusion: The nutrition transition continues in the Canadian Arctic with a concurrent increase in BMI.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arctic Regions / epidemiology
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / ethnology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inuit / psychology
  • Inuit / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires