Assessing dietary intake in a population undergoing a rapid transition in diet and lifestyle: The Arctic Inuit in Nunavut, Canada

Sangita Sharma, Xia Cao, Cindy Roache, Annie Buchan, Rhonda Reid, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The aims of the present study were to (1) characterise the diets of adult Inuit; (2) highlight foods for a nutritional and lifestyle intervention programme; (3) develop a quantitative FFQ (QFFQ) to evaluate the programme and monitor changes in dietary intake in this population over time. A dietary survey using single 24-h dietary recalls was conducted among Inuit aged between 19 and 87 years in two communities in Nunavut, Canada. Eighty-seven subjects completed the recalls (response rate was approximately 73%). The mean energy intake for men and women was 9530 and 6939kJ, respectively. The intakes of dietary fibre and the majority of vitamins and minerals (especially vitamins A, D, and E, total folate and Ca) were far below the recommendations. Traditional foods contributed 40 and 42%, respectively, to protein and Fe intakes. Non-nutrient-dense store-bought foods were consumed much more frequently than the nutrient-dense traditional foods. Foods high in fat and sugar were highlighted, and will be replaced by healthier, more nutrient-dense alternatives to address the dietary inadequacies for the nutritional intervention programme. A 154-item QFFQ was developed and pilot tested in the Arctic Inuit. The present study highlighted foods to be targeted for a nutritional and lifestyle intervention programme not previously undertaken in this population. This QFFQ is culturally appropriate and specific for evaluating the effectiveness of the programme, as well as monitoring nutritional transition in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-759
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Dietary assessment
  • Food and nutrients
  • Inuit
  • Nunavut

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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