Hunger in Inuit Communities Food Security in Inuit Communities: A Discussion Paper PDF
NAHO 2004 #Arctic
Prepared by David A. Boult
Food Security in Inuit Communities – A Discussion Paper
Hunger in Inuit Communities Food Security in Inuit Communities: A Discussion Paper
Inuit families across Canada continue to face significant challenges in accessing adequate nutritional food. Low income, changing dietary habits, high cost of food, lack of awareness of healthy eating habits, and a number of other factors have combined to ensure hunger and poor nutrition continue to impact many Inuit families. The longterm effects of these factors on Inuit health raise a number of serious concerns for both Inuit communities and agencies (government and nongovernment) charged with providing health care programs and services to Inuit.
This discussion paper provides an initial overview of the some of the issues concerning Inuit food security. The primary issues addressed within the paper are:
· A review of the major findings of a recent report on a pilot Food Mail Program in Kugaaruk, Nunavut;
· Health implications of food insecurity; and · Factors impacting food security:
o Retail food operations in the North, o Countryfood, o Community/regionalinitiativesrelatedtofoodsecurity,and o Governmentinitiativesrelatedtofoodsecurity.
The methodology for the development of this discussion paper consisted primarily of a literature review and contacting a number of individuals who are knowledgeable about issues impacting Inuit food security. The following list is not comprehensive, but provides an indication of the primary people approached during the research phase:
· Fred Hill, Manager, Food Mail Program; · Gabriel Nirlangayuk, Director, Nunavut Harvesters Support Program; · Dr. George Wenzel, Professor, McGill University; · George Berthe, VicePresident, Makivik Corporation; · Emily Angnatuq, Food Basket Coordinator (volunteer); · Judy Chapman, Manager of Public Relations, Arctic Cooperatives Limited; and · Elsie DeRoose, Nutritionist, Government of the Northwest Territories Department
of Health and Social Services.
Inuit food security remains elusive for too many Inuit families. While Inuit were the last people in Canada to experience starvation, they continue to experience hunger more often and more severely than the vast majority of Canadians. Food insecurity has significant negatives implications for Inuit health, family dynamics, and community functioning.
This initial discussion paper has reviewed a number of the factors that impact food security in Inuit communities, but it is apparent that a more detailed and comprehensive effort may be needed to provide direction and recommendations to address the issue.
1. Judith Lawn and Dan Harvey, Nutrition and Food Security in Kugaaruk, Nunavut (Ottawa: INAC, 2003) The study took place in OctoberNovember 2001.
2. Formerly Pelly Bay. 3. Effective Dec. 2, 2001, the postage rate for shipping the most nutritious perishable
foods to Kugaaruk was reduced from 80 cents to 30 cents plus the 75 cents per
parcel charge. 4. Statistics Canada. 19981999 National Population Health Survey. 5. Similar studies were conducted in Pond Inlet and Repulse Bay in 1992 and 1997. A
Labrador study was conducted in 1997, although this study focused on food
handling and food safety issues. 6. L.L. Ladoucouer and F. Fill, Results from the Survey on Food Quality in Six
Isolated Communities in Labrador (Ottawa: INAC, March 2001). 7. Judith Lawn and Dan Harvey, Nutrition and Food Security in Kugaaruk, Nunavut
(Ottawa: INAC, 2003) p. 26. 8. Statistics Canada and Human Resources Development Canada. National
Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth Ottawa: 1996). 9. Lynn McIntyre MD. Social Inclusion and Food Security. A presentation to the
Canadian Council on Social Development/Human Resources Development Canada Conference "What Do We Know and Where Do We Go: Building a Social Inclusion Research Agenda", Ottawa, ON, March 2728, 2003.
10. Sheila WattCloutier, Looking North: Climate Change in the Circumpolar Arctic, Chair Inuit Circumpolar Conference (presentation), Conference of the Reducers, Toronto, May 12, 2004.
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