The Compendium of Traditional Dietary Files for First Nations and Inuit in Arctic Canada™


Arctic Canada Dietary Compendium Food Lists

For each region identified within the Canadian Arctic, a relevant traditional/country food list was constructed for the indigenous populations within that region. The food lists only include foods which are considered traditional/country foods and which are not available in the commercial marketplace.

Every possible food may not be included, but a good faith effort was made to include relevant traditional/country foods consumed in each region. Relevant foods are considered to be, foods eaten by a large percentage of the population, foods eaten in large amounts, foods that First Nations and Inuit are concerned about, and foods that are known or suspected of carrying high concentrations of nutrients or toxins. Food preparation and storage methods were considered in cases where data were available.

Consumption Parameters: Probability of Eating

The probability of eating is defined as the chance that the individual within that age group eats a specific food on any given day within that season. The probability value differs across different people in the population and can be expressed as a point value, several point values, or as a distribution of values reflecting the variation across the population. This permits the inter-individual variation to be preserved.

The probability of eating is specific to the season in which the eating event takes place and is also related to the age group. Where information is available, different values can be assigned to different age groups, again allowing for variation by use of distributions. Where there were insufficient data to describe age related differences or other such detail, values for the “probability of eating” were held consistent across all age groups. For this project variation in the amount eaten by different age groups was NOT considered in this parameter, but was considered through the daily intake parameter as described below.

Consumption Parameters: Daily Intake

The daily intake value describes the amount of the food that is eaten on a given day when it is consumed. This value is entered into the software in terms of grams per day (which may include more than one eating event). It does not represent the grams per day consumed averaged across the whole population, but rather the amount eaten by a person on a day when the food is eaten. This value may be described by a point value, a collection of point values, or a distribution, thus preserving the intra-individual variation within the population. The daily intake is specific to the age group that is consuming the food (presumably young children eat less than adults) and is also related to the season in which the food is consumed. Since data related to seasonal variations in daily intake were not available for this project, the daily intake value was held consistent across the seasons and seasonal variability was considered through the probability of eating as described above.


The scientists at The LifeLine Group are pleased to have been able to work on this project and acknowledge the many individuals who have supported or aided the work. With appreciation to all the members of the Canadian advisory group including Janet Brewster (Government of Nunavut), Laurie Chan (University of Northern British Columbia), Cindy Dickson (Council of Yukon First Nations), James Edwards (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – Northern Contaminants Program), Chris Furgal (Trent University), Eva Krummel (Inuit Circumpolar Conference), Eric Loring (Inuit Tapirit Kanatami), Brenda McIntyre (First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada), Olivier Receveur (Universitè de Montrèal), Pat Roach (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Yukon Territory), and Constantine Tikhonov (First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada). This project would not have been possible without careful review and guidance by the advisory group members. We sincerely thank these members for their contributions.

With appreciation to First Nations and Inuit Health Branch scientists and managers, especially Constantine Tikhonov, Chief, Environmental Contaminants Research, Kathleen Lydon-Hassen, Research Analyst, Research and Monitoring Section, Mary Trifonopoulos, Senior Nutritionist, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention and Geneviève Monnin, G&C Program Coordinator, Research and Monitoring Section.

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