Determinants of weight status for the residents of the northwest arctic borough of Alaska
Keywords:Body Mass Index (BMI), correlation, market based western diet, Northwest Arctic Borough, Subsistence foods
While the consumption of a market-based diet is increasing, subsistence food still forms a part of caloric intake for Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska residents. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of consumption of a market-based diet compared to a subsistence diet on the body mass index (BMI) of the people living in this region. For this, 82 adult participants were recruited, and their weight and height were measured to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI). The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that included questions about their family background, lifestyle, physical fitness and dietary patterns. Linear regression models were used to examine BMI's association with variables of diet and physical activity, followed by correlational analysis between BMI and these variables. No significant correlation was identified between BMI and how often people ate a subsistence-based diet. A strong positive correlation was found between BMI and how often people eat food prepared in a restaurant or ate fast food and junk food. A strong negative correlation was found between BMI and frequency of exercise by the participants. Physical activity and consumption of a western diet rather than a subsistence diet are more significant determinants of BMI among Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska residents. These results can be used as a baseline for further studies linking diet and health outcomes among this region's residents.
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