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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2011 Sep;70(4):373-83. Epub 2011 Aug 29.

Traditional food and monetary access to market-food: correlates of food insecurity among Inuit preschoolers.

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Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment and School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Ste. Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada.



To evaluate correlates of food insecurity among Inuit preschoolers. Study design. Cross-sectional health survey.


Correlates of food insecurity were assessed in 3-5 year old children (n=388) residing in 16 Nunavut communities (2007-2008) in whom a high prevalence of child food insecurity (56%) has been documented. A bilingual team conducted interviews, including 24-hour dietary recalls and past-year food security assessment involving monetary access to market foods.


Children residing in child food insecure homes were more likely to have consumed traditional food (TF) (51.7% vs. 39.9%, p ≤ 0.01), and less likely to have consumed any milk (52.2% vs. 73.2%, p ≤ 0.001) compared to children in child food secure homes. Median healthy eating index scores were significantly lower (77.1 vs. 79.9, p ≤ 0.01) and sugar drink intake higher (429 vs. 377 g/day, p ≤ 0.05) in children from child food insecure than food secure households. Children that consumed TF had higher protein and lower carbohydrate intake (p ≤ 0.05) and tendencies for a lower prevalence of iron deficiency (plasma ferritin <12 μg/l; p ≤ 0.10) regardless of food security status. A borderline significant interaction of TF by food security status (p ≤ 0.10) was observed where the percent of anemia (hemoglobin <110 and <115 g/l for 3-4 and 5 yr. olds, respectively) was highest among children from child food insecure homes who consumed no TF.


TF and market food contribute to food security and both need to be considered in food security assessments. Support systems and dietary interventions for families with young children are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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