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Can J Cardiol. 2010 Jun-Jul;26(6):190-6.

Cardiovascular burden and related risk factors among Nunavik (Quebec) Inuit: insights from baseline findings in the circumpolar Inuit health in transition cohort study.

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School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Can J Cardiol. 2011 Jan-Feb;27(1):119.



The Inuit are commonly portrayed to be somehow protected from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) through their traditional lifestyle and diet. However, actual sociocultural transition and related major, modifiable risk factors have scarcely been quantified in the Inuit population. Such knowledge is extremely valuable in terms of public health intervention.


A total of 887 Inuit residents from Nunavik, Quebec, participated in a cohort study. The estimates presented were derived from anthropometric and biological measurements gathered at the time of recruitment and enhanced by information collected in the medical file of each participant. All estimates were corrected for a complex sampling strategy and bootstrapped to ensure the representativeness of the general Nunavik population.


Overall, 19% of Inuit had a disease of the circulatory system according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision. Among all disorders, peripheral circulatory system disease was the most prevalent (9%). Prevalences of ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease were of similar magnitude (2.5%). No significant difference in disease prevalence was noted between sexes. The major modifiable CVD risk factors were smoking (84%), obesity (49%) [corrected] (body mass index of greater than 30 kgm2) and elevated blood pressure (13085 mmHg or greater) (18%). Prevalences were globally higher among women.


The current belief that the Inuit are protected from CVD is seriously questioned by the results of the present study. Considering the extremely high prevalence of CVD risk factors, a population-based intervention reinforced for women is urgently needed to reduce their risk.

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