British Journal of Nutrition

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 103:749-759 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2009

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

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

Sangita Sharmaa1 p1 c1, Xia Caoa1, Cindy Roachea2, Annie Buchana3, Rhonda Reida3 and Joel Gittelsohna4

a1 Epidemiology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, 1236 Lauhala Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
a2 Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut, PO Box 1000, Station 1000, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, X0A 0H0
a3 Community Wellness Centre, PO Box 16, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada, X0B 0C0
a4 Center for Human Nutrition, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Article author query
sharma s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
cao x [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
roache c [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
buchan a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
reid r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
gittelsohn j [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


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 6939 kJ, 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.

(Received March 03 2009)

(Revised August 14 2009)

(Accepted September 01 2009)

(Online publication October 20 2009)

Key Words:Dietary assessment; Food and nutrients; Inuit; Nunavut


c1 Corresponding author: Sangita Sharma, fax +1 808 586 2982, email

p1 Current address: Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 500 Laureate Way, Rm#4201, Kannapolis, NC 28 081, USA


Abbreviations: QFFQ, quantitative FFQ