Risk determination for traditional food should consider the potential risks from exposure to contaminants and the sociocultural, nutritional, economic and spiritual benefits associated with traditional food. Factors which influence Inuit food choices should be further analyzed to add precision to the evaluation of risks and benefits of traditional food consumption. The data of the Nutrition Santé Québec Survey are a potential source for this type of analysis since data are available and are representative of the entire region of Nunavik. The proposed work consists of more detailed analysis of the existing data on food intake among the Inuit of Nunavik collected in 1992 during the Santé Québec Health Survey and to extend our analyses to contaminant intakes. Intakes (mean and median) of traditional and market foods, nutrients and contaminants will be calculated according to the makeup/structure of households, the level of education, the level of household income and coastal place of residence. Intakes will also calculated according to the social assistance status of Inuit. Among Inuit depending on social assistance, comparisons of food, nutrient and contaminant intakes according to the time of the month in which the survey took place will be examined. Statistical comparisons of food intakes will also be done between Inuit who stated having lacked food in the month prior to the survey and those who did not. Nutrient intakes will be compared with daily recommended nutrient intakes (RNI) based on nutritional recommendations issued by Health Canada. More detailed and reliable information regarding sociodemographic factors affecting food intake, nutritional status and contaminant exposure among Inuit will help to orient public health authorities in the promotion of health through traditional food consumption.
Food contaminant data will be drawn from database elaborated in 1994-1996 for the project entitled “ Health risk assessment and elaboration of public health advices concerning contaminants in Nunavik ” and supported by NCP . Data on the following contaminants will be included in the analyses: lead, mercury, p,p'-DDE and PCB as expressed as Aroclor1254 :1260 (1 :1). We will also use data obtained from four questionnaires of the Santé Québec survey. First, the identification chart will provide the sociodemographic information on all members of an individual household. We will use the household questionnaire which covered lifestyle habits such as diet, chronic or transient health problems, utilization of health services etc. Food consumption data will be obtained using the 24-hour dietary recall and the food frequency questionnaires administered during the Santé Québec survey. Combining the 24-hour recall and the food frequency questionnaires will provide a better picture of regular food intake.