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Open Access Research

Impact of the Healthy Foods North nutrition intervention program on Inuit and Inuvialuit food consumption and preparation methods in Canadian Arctic communities

Fariba Kolahdooz1, Mohammadreza Pakseresht1, Erin Mead2, Lindsay Beck1, André Corriveau3 and Sangita Sharma1*

Author Affiliations

1 Aboriginal and Global Health Research Group, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Unit 5-10, University Terrace, 8303-112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2T4, Canada

2 Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

3 Office of the Chief Public Health Officer, Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories, 6th Floor, Centre Square Tower, Box 1320, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9, Canada

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Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:68  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-68

Published: 4 July 2014

Abstract

Background

The 12-month Healthy Foods North intervention program was developed to improve diet among Inuit and Inuvialuit living in Arctic Canada and assess the impact of the intervention established for the communities.

Methods

A quasi-experimental study randomly selected men and women (≥19 years of age) in six remote communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Validated quantitative food frequency and adult impact questionnaires were used. Four communities received the intervention and two communities served as delayed intervention controls. Pre- and post-intervention changes in frequency of/total intake of de-promoted food groups and healthiness of cooking methods were determined. The impact of the intervention was assessed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).

Results

Post-intervention data were analysed in the intervention (n = 221) and control (n = 111) communities, with participant retention rates of 91% for Nunavut and 83% for the Northwest Territories. There was a significant decrease in de-promoted foods, such as high fat meats (−27.9 g) and high fat dairy products (−19.8 g) among intervention communities (all p ≤ 0.05). The use of healthier preparation methods significantly increased (14.7%) in intervention communities relative to control communities.

Conclusions

This study highlights the importance of using a community-based, multi-institutional nutrition intervention program to decrease the consumption of unhealthy foods and the use of unhealthy food preparation methods.

Keywords:
Healthy Foods North; Inuit; Inuvialuit; Food consumption; Food preparation; Arctic; Dietary intervention