Healthy Dietary Choices and Physical Activity Participation in the Canadian Arctic: Understanding Nunavut Inuit Perspectives on the Barriers and Enablers

Victor O. Akande*, Timothy O. Fawehinmi, Robert A. C. Ruiter, Stef P. J. Kremers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Research shows that unhealthy diets and low physical activity are associated with high rates of obesity-linked chronic diseases amongst Nunavut Inuit. To provide contextual insights and deepen our understanding of the factors that underlie these lifestyle choices, we explored the perspectives of Nunavut Inuit on the barriers and enablers of healthy diets and physical activity participation in the community of Iqaluit. Methods: One-on-one semi-structured photo-elicitation interviews were conducted with 16 participants of 18 years and over (10 women, six men). The interviews uncovered the participants’ perspectives on the factors influencing healthy diets and physical activity in their community. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and uploaded to QSR NVIVO Version 12. Data analysis was achieved using an inductive thematic approach. Results: Six main factors were identified as barriers or enablers to energy balance-related behaviors: cost and affordability of healthy choices; availability of traditional foods and activities; weather conditions and climate change; infrastructure and community resources; social networks of family and friends; and effect of substance use. Conclusion: This study identified six broad areas that should be considered while mapping out interventions to reduce the burden of obesity-related chronic diseases in Nunavut communities
Original languageEnglish
Article number940
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • healthy
  • diet
  • activity
  • behavior
  • Inuit
  • perspectives
  • photo-elicitation
  • cost
  • affordability
  • resources
  • Photo-elicitation
  • Activity
  • Cost
  • Affordability
  • Perspectives
  • Behavior
  • Healthy
  • Diet
  • Resources

Cite this