Nutrient intakes, major food sources and dietary inadequacies of Inuit adults living in three remote communities in Nunavut, Canada

S. Sharma, B. N. Hopping, C. Roache, T. Sheehy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Inuit in Nunavut, Canada, are currently undergoing a nutritional transition that may contribute to an increased prevalence of chronic disease. Information is lacking about the extent to which contemporary Inuit diets are meeting current dietary recommendations. Methods: A culturally appropriate quantitative food frequency questionnaire (QFFQ) developed and validated for Inuit in Nunavut, Canada, was used to assess food and nutrient intake in a cross-sectional sample of adults. Results: Participants included 175 women and 36 men with mean (SD) ages of 42.4 (13.2) and 42.1 (15.0) years, respectively. The response rate for those who completed the study was 79% with 208 QFFQs included for analysis. Reported mean daily energy intakes were: men 15 171 kJ (3626 kcal); women 11 593 kJ (2771 kcal). Dietary inadequacy was expressed as the percentage of participants reporting intakes below the sex- and age-specific estimated average requirements (EARs). For nutrients without EARs, adequate intakes were used. Energy and sodium intakes exceeded the recommendations. Less than 10% of participants met recommendations for dietary fibre intake. Vitamin E intakes were below EARs for ≥97% of participants, whereas >20% reported inadequate vitamin A, folate and magnesium intakes. Among women, >50% reported inadequate calcium and vitamin D intakes. Non-nutrient-dense foods contributed 30% of energy, 73% of sugars and 22% of fat. Traditional foods contributed 56% of protein and 49% of iron. Conclusions: The present study demonstrates a relatively high prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes among Inuit. The results may be used to monitor the nutrition transition among Inuit, evaluate nutritional interventions, and inform public health policy decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-586
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Arctic regions
  • Dietary intake
  • Inuit
  • Nutritional transition
  • Quantitative food frequency questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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