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Health of Canadian Aborigines Essay

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As the world is becoming more industrialized, processed foods are becoming cheaper and easier to purchase. This shift in natural food availability is becoming a growing health concern for people around the world; however, Canadian aboriginal communities are feeling greater negative effects of food insecurity (FI). When people in a community do not have “physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”, they are considered food insecure (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 1998). While FI affects the health of all Canadians, the Aboriginal Peoples have been reported to have consistently lower health than other Canadians due to the extreme transition from their traditional low-fat, low-sugar diet to processed foods high in saturated fat and sugar (Health Canada, 1999, Kuhnlein, Reveveur, Soueida and Egeland, 2004, Receveur, Boulay, Kuhnlein, 1997). Food insecure Canadians are much more likely to develop chronic conditions, such as diabetes, and suffer from nutritional deficiency (Reading, 2009). While many physical illnesses arise from nutritional deficiency and FI, psychological challenges may also arise. Mental problems, such as depression, distress, and a reduced ability to learn have been documented as side effects of FI and nutritional deficiencies (Hamelin, Habicht, Beaudry, 1999). The recent changes in diet from traditional foods to processed food is the leading cause of health concerns, like diabetes, and nutritional deficiencies, such as iron-deficient anemia, in Canadian Aboriginal communities.
Indigenous foods are foods that are taken from the environment and incorporated into the cultural food. These foods, whether t...


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...d control of diabetes through Friendship Centres or Aboriginal Health Access Centres (Health Canada, 2005). ADI teaches diabetes control and prevention through food education. People with diabetes may be encouraged to choose foods with a low glycemic index, to prevent blood sugar from spiking after a meal, and fresh vegetables.
Despite the recent change in Canadian Aboriginal health, due to the reduced availability of traditional foods, the government can provide special programs targeted to the whole population and specific populations to improve knowledge of nutritional health and health concerns related to poor diet. The government needs to provide the funds necessary to ensure food security and proper education regarding nutritional health to all communities within Canada. With proper awareness, the citizens of Canada can ensure our future is a healthy one.


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