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Indigenous peoples' nutrition transition in a right to food perspective

Damman, S., Eide, W.B., Kuhnlein, H.V.
Food policy 2008 v.33 no.2 pp. 135-155
food policy, diet, lifestyle, chronic diseases, risk factors, food availability, food supply, food security, indigenous peoples, protein energy malnutrition, contingent valuation, eating habits, industrialization, urbanization, Inuit, human rights, Argentina, Canada, Nunavut
In indigenous communities the nutrition transition characterized by a rapid westernization of diet and lifestyle is associated with rising prevalence of chronic disease. Field work and literature reviews from two different policy environments, Argentina (Jujuy) and Canada (Nunavut), identified factors that add to indigenous peoples' disease risk. The analytical framework was the emerging human right to adequate food approach to policies and programmes. Indigenous peoples' chronic disease risk tends to increase as a result of government policies that infringe on indigenous peoples' livelihoods and territories, undermining their economic system, values and solidarity networks. Policies intended to increase food security, including food aid, may also fuel the nutrition transition. There is a need to explore further the connection between well-intended policies towards indigenous peoples and the development of chronic diseases, and to broaden the understanding of the role that different forms of discrimination play in the westernization of their lifestyles, values and food habits. Food policies that take due account of indigenous peoples' human rights, including their right to enjoy their culture, may counteract the growth of chronic disease in these communities.