2006 Statscan study shows &#39c;hildren; went without food at least monthly

Hunger haunts 40 per cent of Nunavut Inuit kids


Nearly 40 per cent of Inuit children in Nunavut experienced hunger in 2006, according to new figures released by Statistics Canada.

Data from the 2006 census found that 39 per cent of Nunavut children experienced food insecurity because their family ran out of food or money to buy food at least once during the year.

Thirty per cent of Inuit children nationwide experienced hunger at some point during 2006.

"For over four in 10 of these children, this happened every month, or even more often," the report reads.

In other Inuit regions, children were less likely to go hungry. Food insecurity occurred at least once for 33 per cent of children in Nunavik, 30 per cent in Nunatsiavut, 12 per cent in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and eight per cent in the rest of Canada.

StatCan attributed the high occurrence of hunger to high food prices and lower median incomes among Inuit compared to the rest of Canada.

But the study also showed that food insecurity amongst Inuit is offset by the presence of country food, which still comprises a large portion of the Inuit diet.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Inuit in the four Inuit regions lived in a home where "at least half of the meat and fish eaten was country food."

Despite increased fuel costs and time restraints caused by work, 68 per cent of Inuit in Northern Canada found time to harvest country food in 2005. Men, 74 per cent, were more likely to harvest country food than women, 62 per cent.

The study also found that the rate of smoking among Inuit, at 58 per cent of adults, is nearly three and a half times the rate of other Canadians, at 17 per cent.

But the most common health conditions, arthritis and high blood pressure, occurred at a rate comparable to that of other Canadians.

One Inuk in 10 who lived in Inuit regions reported going without needed medical treatment at least once in 2005. And five per cent reported having to leave their community for a month or more for medical treatment.

Half of adults said they were in very good or excellent health, while 74 per cent of Inuit children were said to be in very good or excellent health, the study said.

The data came from a report on Inuit health and social conditions culled from the 2006 census.

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