Background: The traditional diet in the Arctic Indigenous populations have undergone asignificant transition. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) has beenlooking into this dietary transition happening in the circumpolar earth for more than 20 yearsfrom now and explained them through the studies focusing on changes in Arctic biodiversity,human health, and natural environment. But there has not been any chapter explicitly focusing onthe transition of the food, diet, and nutritional status in the populations living in the Arctic.Indigenous communities are the majority living in these demographics and their traditional foodhabits have gone through a drastic change and hence affecting their health and lifestyle. Thisstudy has focused on exploring the changes or transition in traditional food habits, diet, andnutrition while identifying the causes and consequences to these changes in the indigenouscommunities living in the Arctic regions through a systematic review of literature of the existingvalid evidence.
Methods: The study has been conducted through a systematic literature review including 91literature (journals, books, reports, national surveys, articles, and unpublished manuscripts fromregional health experts and researchers) related to the topics Arctic indigenous food, diet,nutrition, dietary transition, and traditional indigenous diet. Additional 5 literature was added toformalize the method for the study. The relevant non-English pieces of literature were excludedat first. Still, some of them have been included as the regional and native experts from AMAPHHAG helped the study team with the English translation. The literature that did not match thestudy objectives and keywords were excluded from the study. The references for the study havebeen organized using Endnote 9X. For wording, citation and referencing APA 6th format hasbeen followed.
Results: A pattern of changes has been found in all indigenous and native populations residingin the Arctic regions (Greenland, Scandinavia, Arctic Russia, Arctic Alaska, Arctic Canada)caused by rapid globalization, gradual climate change, and inclusion of western diet. Traditionaldiet was found more popular among the older generations than that was found in the youngergenerations in the Arctic indigenous communities. It is found that the dietary changes have increased adverse health effects such as the increased prevalence of T2D, obesity, dental carriesand other metabolic diseases. On the positive side, these changes found beneficial in terms ofnutrient intake, as more vegetables have been included recently within the daily dietarycomposition. However, the traditional diet is still considered as an integral part of the indigenouscultures and traditions by all the Arctic indigenous populations. Rising concern regarding foodinsecurity also has been found in the North American Arctic territories (Alaska and Canada) andArctic Russia which has been reported as one of the causes for the changes in the traditional diet,besides other mentioned causes.
Conclusion: A similarity has been observed in dietary change patterns among all the Arcticindigenous populations, which has both positive and negative consequences in terms ofpopulations’ health. Similarity has also been noted in terms of causes among the populations.Globalization, climate change, and inclusion of western diet have been found as the commoncauses for the overall traditional dietary patterns of the indigenous communities went and stillgoing through the transition. A rising concern in terms of food insecurity has also been foundmainly in Arctic Canada, Arctic Alaska, and Arctic Russia.
Keywords: Arctic traditional diet, Dietary Transition in the Arctic, Nutrition, Arctic IndigenousPopulations, Food Insecurity in Northern or Arctic Canada, Arctic Alaska, North and North-WesternRussia, Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland.