Guo, Y., Berrang-Ford, L., Ford, J., Lardeau, MP., Edge, V., Patterson K., the IHACC Research Team, and Harper, S. (2015). Seasonal prevalence and determinants of food insecurity in Iqaluit, Nunavut. International Journal of Circumpolar Health. Abstract
Background. Food insecurity is an ongoing problem in the Canadian Arctic. Although most studies have focused on smaller communities, little is known about food insecurity in larger centres.
Objectives. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of food insecurity during 2 different seasons in Iqaluit, the territorial capital of Nunavut, as well as identify associated risk factors.
Design. A modified United States Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey was applied to 532 randomly selected households in September 2012 and 523 in May 2013. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine potential associations between food security and 9 risk factors identified in the literature.
Results. In September 2012, 28.7% of surveyed households in Iqaluit were food insecure, a rate 3 times higher than the national average, but lower than smaller Inuit communities in Nunavut. Prevalence of food insecurity in September 2012 was not significantly different in May 2013 (27.2%). When aggregating results from Inuit households from both seasons (May and September), food insecurity was associated with poor quality housing and reliance on income support (p<0.01). Unemployment and younger age of the person in charge of food preparation were also significantly associated with food insecurity. In contrast to previous research among Arctic communities, gender and consumption of country food were not positively associated with food security. These results are consistent with research describing high food insecurity across the Canadian Arctic.
Conclusion. The factors associated with food insecurity in Iqaluit differed from those identified in smaller communities, suggesting that experiences with, and processes of, food insecurity may differ between small communities and larger commercial centres. These results suggest that country food consumption, traditional knowledge and sharing networks may play a less important role in larger Inuit communities.