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Despite the partial subsistence livelihoods of many Inuit in the city, we found no seasonal differences in food security and food consumption for households with children.Interventions aiming to decrease food insecurity in these households should consider food consumption habits, and the reported demographic and socioeconomic determinants of food insecurity.
Furthermore, food security research in larger northern centres is nascent; past studies focused on households with children in small northern communities (Iqaluit is located on Baffin Island (63°45′N 068° 31′W), and is the capital of Nunavut with 6699 residents (Fig. Iqaluit’s economy is based on waged employment from the public sector, as well as partial subsistence hunting and gathering activities.
Caribou, walrus, fish, seals, beluga whales, clams, geese, and ducks are traditionally harvested and shared in the Iqaluit area .
Univariable logistic regressions were used to examine unconditional associations between food security status and demographics, socioeconomics, frequency of food consumption, and method of food preparation in households with children by season.
Households with children (n = 431) and without children (n = 468) participated in the survey.
Season has an important influence on Inuit food systems since access to, and success of hunting, trapping, and fishing depend on season-dependent factors including ice conditions, precipitation patterns, and animal migration and distribution [37, 39,40,41,42].
As a result, the type and quantity of local food harvested and consumed in Inuit communities typically changes seasonally [11, 16, 43].Food insecurity is often associated with inadequate nutrient intakes and lower diet quality, which can compromise adults’ [22,23,24] and children’s [3, 25,26,27,28,29,30] health and well-being.For instance, food insecurity can have detrimental long-term effects on child physical, mental, cognitive, and psychosocial health and development [22, 26, 30,31,32,33,34,35,36].Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the person responsible for food preparation, including low formal education attainment (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.1–3.7) was associated with increased odds of food insecurity.Food insecurity is high among households with children in Iqaluit.For instance, Inuit diet is traditionally comprised of nutrient-dense “country” foods [10,11,12] (i.e.country foods are ‘animals and plants harvested from the local environment’ (11) that are not typically available at retail stores, hereafter referred to as “local foods”) such as caribou, seal, and fish.The cross-sectional surveys were conducted during two periods to capture different harvest seasons.Although the environmental conditions that determine harvesting periods vary from year to year, late June to November is usually the ‘open water season’ in Iqaluit, during which boats are used in harvesting activities.In contrast, 63% of Inuit households in Arctic Canada were classified as being food insecure [3, 4], and community-based surveys have indicated an even higher prevalence in some Inuit communities [5,6,7].This high prevalence spurred research examining the determinants, distribution, and experiences of food insecurity in the North, which has highlighted the complexity of Northern food systems [5, 6, 8, 9].