Yup'ik identity and socioeconomic status are associated with child consumption of traditional food and weight in rural Yup'ik communities

Ethn Health. 2019 Apr;24(3):312-322. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2017.1331338. Epub 2017 May 25.


Objective: In remote, Alaska Native communities, traditional foods remain a significant source of essential nutrients and appear to protect against the development of chronic diseases. Relatively low intake of traditional foods among Alaska Native children is therefore of concern. The aim of this study was to identify household and parental predictors of child traditional food (TF) consumption and weight in remote Yup'ik communities of Alaska.

Design: Children (10-18 years old) and parents in two communities (populations <500) were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. Intake of traditional foods among children and parents was estimated from two-24 h recalls using NDS-R. Weight and height were measured and BMI calculated. Sociodemographic factors, including income and education, were collected from parents. A partial least square path modeling analysis and bootstrapping were performed to identify predictors of child TF consumption and weight.

Results: Parental intake of traditional foods, Yup'ik identity and income were positively associated with child intake of traditional foods. Further, parental intake of traditional foods predicted lower child BMI. Parental education was negatively associated with child traditional food intake and positively associated with child BMI.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that interventions targeting parents may be an effective strategy to increase intake of traditional foods and improve diet quality among Alaska Native youth.

Keywords: Yup’ik culture; child; diet; dyads; socioeconomic factors; traditional food.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alaska
  • Alaska Natives / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Food / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires