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Improving vitamin A and D intake among Inuit and Inuvialuit in Arctic Canada: evidence from the Healthy Foods North study


Background People in Arctic Canada are undergoing a nutritional transition and increased prevalence of chronic disease. The Healthy Foods North diet and physical activity intervention was developed in 2007–2008 while working with populations in six communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, Canada.

Methods Four communities received the 1-year intervention (eg, conducting workshops, cooking classes and walking clubs) and two communities served as controls. Among the 263 adult evaluation participants, food frequency questionnaires were used to assess dietary intake at baseline and postintervention. Changes in mean nutrient intakes, nutrient density and dietary adequacy from baseline to postintervention were determined. The intervention impact on nutrient intakes was assessed through multivariate linear regression analysis.

Results Post-intervention assessment showed a reductions in total fat, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and increases in iron intake, only in the intervention group. More than a 4%-increase in the percentage of adherence to vitamins A and D recommendations was observed in the intervention group. After adjusting the regression models, respondents in the intervention communities significantly reduced their energy intake and increased their vitamins A and D intake.

Conclusions The Healthy Foods North is an effective programme to improve dietary quality among populations of the Canadian Arctic. Long-term interventions are expected to be important factors in the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases in these communities.

  • Epidemiological methods
  • DIET

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