preschoolers often go hungry: study
Condensed by Native Village
Nunavut: In the Canadian North:
of Inuit preschoolers live in homes where there isn't enough food.
Some children go
an entire day
Inuit infant death
rates (birth - 1 year) are
in Inuit areas than the rest
of the Canada
The average grocery bill for those with
young children is around
a week, twice
as much a
family in the south pays.
29%of Inuit children
are obese, and 39%
are overweight because
families eat high-carbohydrate foods which
are cheap and filling.
so that youngsters won't go hungry.
"When a mother would get tears in her eyes when these
questions are getting asked, we realized there are a lot
of hidden problems that haven't really come to light,"
said Grace Egeland from McGill
Egeland and her team held
face-to-face interviews with the mothers and caregivers
of 388 Inuit children ages
3-5. The study results were published in the Canadian
Medical Association Journal.
"These results highlight the dire maternal and infant
health situations in the Inuit-inhabited areas,"
said Dr. Zhong-Cheng Luo from Sainte-Justine Hospital in
Dr. Isaac Sobol, Nunavut's
chief medical officer, said the lack of nutrition
affects Inuit children's concentration and alertness. "Children aren't very well prepared to engage
properly in school if they're hungry," Sobol said.
The high Inuit
fetal and infant mortality rate may be
preventable. Researchers suggest:"
Provide food banks and subsidies for
food with high nutritional value.
More research about environmental toxins in
and fish and the elevated risks of infant death and
Funding to improve socio-economic and living
"Back to sleep" campaigns that teach mothers to
place babies on their backs to avoid sudden infant death
Programs to reduce smoking, second-hand smoke, and encourage
"Food insecurity is all too prevalent in homes with
Inuit preschoolers in Canadian Arctic communities," Egeland and her co-authors wrote. "The data suggest that
support systems need to be strengthened for Inuit
families with young children."
The good news is
44% of Inuit children still have
access to traditional food hunted by family members or
shared by others. However, many people don't hunt
because they can't afford hunting equipment
The issue of hunger in Nunavut
deserves urgent attention, said David Wilman, a
Nunavut resident. "If it doesn't, there'll be a crisis, I think — a
health crisis, among not just children, among many Inuit
and among many northerners."