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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #186478


item Pehrsson, Pamela
item Holden, Joanne
item Haytowitz, David

Submitted to: International Food Data Base Conference Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/2005
Publication Date: 9/14/2005
Citation: Pehrsson, P.R., Holden, J.M., Haytowitz, D.B. Development and application of food composition information for native american populations. The 6th International Food Data Conference, September 14-16, 2005, Pretoria, South Africa.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Objective: American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) have diverse diets, which depend on their unique cultures and indigenous plants and animals; for some tribes, subsistence foods comprise much of the diet and for others, traditional foods are being replaced with less healthy, mainstream foods. More sedentary lifestyles and less commitment to traditional diets contribute to poorer nutrition and growing health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and various cancers. The objective of this research is to provide crucial food composition information to tribes, health professionals and researchers in the AIAN communities to support dietary assessment and nutrition education strategies. Data for the developing USDA AIAN Foods Database are updated in the USDA National Nutrient database for Standard Reference (SR):; data for over 200 traditional foods will be included in the final database. Methods and Materials: Sampling of all tribes and their respective foods is cost-prohibitive; therefore, tribes/reservations are selected probability-proportional-to-size across the 48 conterminous states and Alaska, using reported enrollment (population) data for each tribe. Lists of important (most consumed) harvested and hunted foods and traditional recipes are being developed from published scientific research, formal and informal surveys through health professionals, government documents, and interviews and focus groups with tribal members. Approximately 100 traditional foods have been analyzed from the Navajo, Hopi and Apache tribes in Southwest US (e.g., frybread, deer, berries), various Alaskan tribes (e.g., salmon, seal), and the Shoshone Bannocks (e.g., bison, berries) in the Rocky Mountains. Sampling of foods among the Plains Indians (north central US) is being planned. Foods were assayed for approximately 100 nutrients (e.g., proximates, phytonutrients, sugars, fatty acids) using validated analytical methodology. Results: Overall, traditional foods tend to be lower in sodium than mainstream foods, and are often rich in healthful fatty acids (e.g., omega-3) and phytonutrients (as in wild berries). Conclusion: A summary of the sampling approach and the nutrient data will be available to tribal health professionals, who will develop nutrition education tools to encourage the return to more traditional, healthier foods. Similarly, providing food composition information across diverse populations within a country or within geographical regions is crucial to global health.