Navigation Links
Patterns of growth changing in Inuit preschoolers
Date:4/19/2010

TORONTO, ON -- Inuit preschoolers in Nunavut are as tall as their U.S. counterparts but they're also heavier, according to a new study published in the online edition of the International Journal of Circumpolar Health.

This represents a remarkable change from previous work showing Inuit infants began life with equivalent birth lengths, but were falling behind by the time they were six months old.

"This is in many ways a good news story," says Dr. Tracey Galloway, lead author and a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. "Height reflects overall health status over a lifetime and over generations."

Unlike weight, which can fluctuate quickly, it takes decades for changes in health to be reflected in the height of a population. Factors influencing height include nutrition of the child, maternal health and diet, and infectious disease rates.

However, says Galloway, it's impossible to know whether this trend will continue because school-aged children and youth have not been recently surveyed. The study of 26% of three to five year olds in 16 Nunavut communities marks the first time data on the height and weight of preschoolers has been collected for Inuit populations living in the North.

The data are from the International Polar Year Nunavut Inuit Child Health Survey led by McGill University, the University of Toronto and territorial and community partners.

In Greenland, the height of Inuit youth begins to fall behind the general population in their early teens. And decades of work with Canadian adult Inuit populations consistently show they are shorter than adults in the general population.

"No current data exist for Canadian Inuit schoolchildren and youth. We don't have a snapshot. We don't know what the pattern of growth is over time," says Galloway.

Unfortunately, as well as gaining height, Inuit preschoolers are also gaining weight. The study, part of a larger International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey, showed that 51% of children measured were overweight, a number that surpasses preschoolers in Greenland, Canada and the U.S. The Canada-wide prevalence for overweight is 15 to 30% of preschoolers while in Greenland it's 21%.

Significantly more boys than girls were overweight, 57% compared to 45%, a trend that's markedly different from that found in Inuit adults in Alaska, Canada and Greenland, where 25% of women are obese compared to 16% of men.

Galloway was not surprised that preschoolers were showing high rates of overweight and obesity. "This is a global issue. Many countries are facing a similar rise in childhood obesity rates, especially in those areas facing rapid social and economic transitions."

Major changes in the North are impacting the availability of traditional "country" foods. Sea ice is melting earlier, freezing later, and can be more unstable, which makes hunting difficult. Caribou are becoming scare in some areas and migration routes are changing. Men are often working full time jobs and don't have the time to hunt, while the cost of skidoos and gas make it a costly venture.

Inuit then rely more on store bought foods. When fruits and vegetables are available, they are often prohibitively expensive, leading to consumption of high calorie food and drinks. "Food security is a huge issue. Children are often hungry."

However Galloway urges caution in interpreting the study's obesity findings: "Little is known about the health risks of obesity in Inuit populations." The child survey and its related adult component offer an opportunity to learn more about the growth and health of Canadian Inuit.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ruth Klinkhammer
r.klinkhammer@ucalgary.ca
403-220-7294
Arctic Institute of North America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Visualization of geographic patterns may predict spread of disease
2. Genetic patterns rise from huge yeast samples
3. Are holiday and weekend eating patterns affecting obesity rates?
4. Geographic profiling applied to track hunting patterns of white sharks in South Africa
5. Researchers gain genome-wide insights into patterns of the worlds human population structures
6. NOAA researchers: Blue whales re-establishing former migration patterns
7. UK researcher identifies just 8 patterns as the cause of all humor
8. DNA repair patterns may predict risk of pancreatic cancer
9. Researchers examine role of soil patterns in dam restoration
10. Scientists Find new migratory patterns for Mediterranean and Western Atlantic bluefin tuna
11. Scientists discover key patterns in the packaging of genes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... YORK , April 5, 2017 Today ... is announcing that the server component of the HYPR ... known for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million ... makers including manufacturers of connected home product suites and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017 The research team of The ... (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery ... of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration ... ... A research team ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global ... technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare ... BoxWorks conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical ... takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... , ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... within the healthcare and technology sector at their fourth annual Conference where founders, ... 30 inspiring speakers and the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health ...
Breaking Biology Technology: