Importance of traditional foods for the food security of two First Nations communities in the Yukon, Canada

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Schuster, Roseanne C. ; Wein, Eleanor E. ; Dickson, Cindy ; Chan, Hing Man (2012)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v70i3.17833
  • Subject: traditional food use, food security, Yukon First Nations, environmental change, food frequency questionnaire, temporal change
    mesheuropmc: digestive, oral, and skin physiology

Objectives. This study sought to evaluate food consumption patterns in the context of food security in two Yukon First Nations communities. Study design. Twenty-nine members of Vuntut Gwitchin households in Old Crow and 33 members of Tlingit households in Teslin participated in individual interviews. Methods. Food frequency questionnaires were used to quantify traditional food consumption throughout the spring 2007 and winter 2008 and to identify potential temporal trends through a comparison with data from the early 1990s. Additional questions, including the Health Canada Household Food Security Survey Module, sought to assess food security concerns in each community. Results. Overall frequency of traditional food consumption did not change in either community from the 2 time-point analyses. There was, however, a difference in frequency of consumption of certain groups of foods, and this highlighted the degree to which environmental variability affects the availability of foods. Conclusion. The importance of traditional foods in the diet of Yukon First Nations has not changed over the past 15 years. However, limited availability of food species, access to harvesting equipment and decrease in available time to go out on the land to harvest are food security challenges facing households today.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2011; 70(3):286-300)Keywords: traditional food use, food security, Yukon First Nations, environmental change, food frequency questionnaire, temporal change
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