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Important psychosocial factors to target in nutrition interventions to improve diet in Inuvialuit communities in the Canadian Arctic

Mead, E., Gittelsohn, J., De Roose, E., Sharma, S.
Journal of human nutrition and dietetics 2010 v.23 no.s1 pp. 92-99
sociodemographic characteristics, community service, cooking fats and oils, adults, household surveys, self-efficacy, nutritional intervention, nutrition education, nutrient density, food intake, Inuit, low carbohydrate diet, nomadic people, nutritional adequacy, home food preparation, socioeconomic status, low fat foods, food choices, nutrition knowledge, Northwest Territories, Arctic region
With increasing chronic disease amongst Inuvialuit in the Canadian Arctic, research on dietary behaviours and their determinants in this population is needed to develop nutritional behaviour change intervention strategies. The present study aimed to assess the knowledge, self-efficacy and intentions towards healthy eating and healthy eating behaviours of Inuvialuit adults in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada. The Adult Impact Questionnaire was developed from behavioural theories and workshops held in the communities. It was conducted with adult Inuvialuit (≥19 years) from randomly selected households in three NWT communities to collect data on the psychosocial constructs of healthy food knowledge, self-efficacy and intentions, and the dietary behaviours of healthy and unhealthy food acquisition and preparation. Associations between demographic, socioeconomic, psychosocial constructs and behaviours were analysed using multivariate linear regression. The 228 participants [mean (SD) age 43.4 (13.6) years; response rates 65-85%] acquired non-nutrient-dense foods a mean (SD) of 2.7 (3.0) times more frequently than nutrient-dense, low sugar and low fat foods. Increased intention was associated with a greater frequency of acquiring healthy foods (β = 0.17, P = 0.012) and a lower frequency of acquiring unhealthy foods (β = -0.18, P = 0.008). Overall, participants reported using food preparation methods that reduce fat content slightly more than methods that add fat [mean (SD) score 0.3 (1.9)]. Use of healthier food preparation methods was associated with higher levels of healthy food knowledge (β = 0.26, P < 0.001), self-efficacy (β = 0.29, P < 0.001) and intentions (β = 0.22, P = 0.001). Healthy food intention was the construct most significantly associated with all three healthier dietary behaviours. Interventions that target intentions to change food choice and preparation may be effective strategies to improve dietary intake in Inuvialuit populations.