Prevalence of affirmative responses to questions of food insecurity: International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey, 2007–2008

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Rosol, Renata ; Huet, Catherine ; Wood, Michele ; Lennie, Crystal ; Osborne, Geraldine ; Egeland, Grace M. (2012)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v70i5.17862
  • Subject: food security, prevalence, Inuit, Canadian Arctic, Inuit Health Survey
    mesheuropmc: digestive, oral, and skin physiology

Objectives. Assess the prevalence of food insecurity by region among Inuit households in the Canadian Arctic. Study design. A community-participatory, cross-sectional Inuit health survey conducted through faceto- face interviews. Methods. A quantitative household food security questionnaire was conducted with a random sample of 2,595 self-identified Inuit adults aged 18 years and older, from 36 communities located in 3 jurisdictions (Inuvialuit Settlement Region; Nunavut; Nunatsiavut Region) during the period from 2007 to 2008. Weighted prevalence of levels of adult and household food insecurity was calculated. Results. Differences in the prevalence of household food insecurity were noted by region, with Nunavut having the highest prevalence of food insecurity (68.8%), significantly higher than that observed in Inuvialuit Settlement Region (43.3%) and Nunatsiavut Region (45.7%) (p≤0.01). Adults living in households rated as severely food insecure reported times in the past year when they or other adults in the household had skipped meals (88.6%), gone hungry (76.9%) or not eaten for a whole day (58.2%). Adults living in households rated as moderately food insecure reported times in the past year when they worried that food would run out (86.5%) and when the food did not last and there was no money to buy more (87.8%). Conclusions. A high level of food insecurity was reported among Inuit adults residing in the Canadian Arctic, particularly for Nunavut. Immediate action and meaningful interventions are needed to mitigate the negative health impacts of food insecurity and ensure a healthy Inuit population.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2011; 70(5):488-497)Keywords: food security, prevalence, Inuit, Canadian Arctic, Inuit Health Survey
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