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Food insecurity, vitamin D insufficiency and respiratory infections among Inuit children



Food insecurity, vitamin D insufficiency and respiratory infections among Inuit children



International Journal of Circumpolar Health 75: 29954



Food insecurity, vitamin D deficiency and lower respiratory tract infections are highly prevalent conditions among Inuit children. However, the relationship between these conditions has not been examined in this population. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between food insecurity and severe respiratory infections before age 2 years and health centre visits for a respiratory problem in the past year. We also explored the relationship between serum vitamin D status and respiratory outcomes in this population. We included children aged 3-5 years who participated in a cross-sectional survey of the health of preschool Inuit children in Nunavut, Canada, from 2007 to 2008 (n=388). Parental reports of severe respiratory infections in the first 2 years of life and health care visits in the past 12 months were assessed through a questionnaire. Child and adult food security were assessed separately and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels were measured in a subgroup of participants (n=279). Multivariate logistic regression was performed to assess the association between food security, vitamin D and each of the 2 respiratory outcomes. Child and adult food insecurity measures were not significantly associated with adverse respiratory outcomes. Household crowding [odds ratio (OR)=1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09-2.09, p=0.01 for the child food security model] and higher birth weight (OR=1.21, 95% CI: 1.02-1.43, p=0.03) were associated with reported severe chest infections before age 2 years while increasing age was associated with decreased odds of reported health care visits for a respiratory problem (OR=0.66, 95% CI: 0.48-0.91, p=0.02). Neither vitamin D insufficiency nor deficiency was associated with these respiratory outcomes. Using a large cross-sectional survey of Inuit children, we found that household crowding, but not food security or vitamin D levels, was associated with adverse respiratory outcomes. Further studies are warranted to examine the impact of decreasing household crowding on the respiratory health of these children.

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Accession: 057891366

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26895394

DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v75.29954


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