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University Of Alaska To Study Health, Diet Of Alaskan Natives

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has received two NIH grants totaling nearly $14 million to study the health and diet of Alaskan Natives, the AP/Anchorage Daily News reports.

Thefirst grant, worth nearly $11 million over five years, allows thecenter to continue to examine the relationship between obesity andchronic diseases among Alaskan Natives. The center received a similarNIH grant in 2001 (AP/Anchorage Daily News, 9/28).Researchers will look at weight, nutrition and overall health amongAlaskan Natives in terms of genetics, diet and culture (CANHR release, 9/12).

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Inaddition, Center Co-Director Bert Boyer received a $2.8 million grantto look at the role of polyunsaturated fat in the overall health ofYup'ik Eskimos in western Alaska. Boyer said that Yup'ik Eskimos "haveamong the lowest levels of metabolic syndrome (or risk ofobesity-related diseases such as diabetes) of any group worldwide, yetthey are as overweight as anyone else in America."

Boyer said,"Yup'ik elders have always felt that their subsistence foods andlifestyle are healthy, and we want to give them scientific evidencethat an active lifestyle and their diet rich in (polyunsaturated fattyacids) is indeed healthy."

Researchers also will study the cultural attitudes toward health and diet among Yup'ik Eskimos (AP/Anchorage Daily News, 9/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.