January 25, 2010
70 Percent Of Inuit Preschoolers Live In Food Insecure Homes
Seventy percent of Inuit preschoolers in Nunavut, Canada's largest territory, live in households where there isn't enough food, a situation with implications for children's academic and psychosocial development, found an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only) http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj091297.pdf.
The study, conducted by researchers at McGill University and the Government of Nunavut, looked at 388 Inuit children aged 3-5 years in 16 communities from 2007-2008. The majority of children (68%) lived with their biological or adoptive parents. Twenty-nine percent were obese and 39% were overweight. There was a high prevalence of public housing, income support and crowded homes.The researchers conducted bilingual, face-to-face interviews which included demographic questionnaires and the USDA 18-item Household Food Security Survey module. Questions included "In the last 12 months, did your children ever not eat for a whole day because there wasn't enough money for food?" and "in the last 12 months, were the children ever hungry but you just couldn't afford more food?"
"Food insecurity is all too prevalent in homes with Inuit preschoolers in Canadian Artic communities," write Dr. Grace Egeland and coauthors. "The data suggest that support systems need to be strengthened for Inuit families with young children."
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