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J Nutr. 1997 Nov;127(11):2179-86.

Decreasing traditional food use affects diet quality for adult Dene/Métis in 16 communities of the Canadian Northwest Territories.

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Centre for Indigenous People's Nutrition and Environment, McGill University, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada.


We assessed diets in 16 Dene/Métis communities in the Canadian Arctic. We described nutrient intakes and identified nutrients at risk among adult Dene/Métis, evaluated the influence of traditional food on diet quality, and examined the direction of dietary change by comparing intergenerational and between-community differences in dietary intake. Diet varied according to sex, age and community. Nutrients of possibly inadequate intake (irrespective of subject sex, age or community) included calcium, vitamin A and folic acid. Dietary fiber intake was also of concern. Traditional food (animals and plants harvested from the local environment) was consumed on 65. 4% of interview days; on those days intakes of iron, zinc and potassium were higher (P < 0.05) and those of sodium, fat, saturated fat and sucrose were lower (P < 0.05) than on days when market food only was consumed. In this population, the shift away from traditional food towards a diet composed exclusively of market food was characterized by an increase (P < 0.05) in absolute energy intake and an increase (P < 0.01) in the relative contributions of carbohydrate (particularly sucrose), fat and saturated fat. This pattern of change calls for initiatives to document the current health status of this population and to prevent potential negative health consequences of dietary change.

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