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Changing diets and traditional lifestyle of Siberian Arctic Indigenous Peoples and effects on health and well-being

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Abstract

The diet of Indigenous Peoples of North-Western Siberia is characterized by a significant proportion of traditional foods. Eating local products provides a ready-made set of macro- and microelements necessary for life in the challenging conditions of the Arctic. Currently, high consumption of traditional foods is typical in the season of fishing or reindeer slaughter, while out of season the consumption of easily digestible carbohydrates increases. Due to climate change, seasonal fishing and traditional migration routes are disrupted and, therefore, the consumption of traditional foods is decreasing. During 5 years of expeditions, we performed a cross-sectional screening of 985 Indigenous People from three districts of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. We analyzed the seasonality of acquisition and consumption of local reindeer and fish products and studied the traditional food storage among 90 Indigenous fishermen and hunters, who exploit cryostorage. As diet affects health, we studied the benefits of local food. The duration of the consumption season is decreasing and therefore the amount of consumption of local food is decreasing as well. This has adverse effects on health with increasing hypertension dissemination. The creation of stocks of fish and reindeer meat in villages and their year-round sale to the population is a necessary step for ensuring the food security and health of the inhabitants in the region.

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Acknowledgments

Andrey Lobanov and Olga Shaduyko (Morozova) are grateful for the support from the Tomsk State University Competitiveness Improvement Programme. They also would like to thank Terry V Callaghan for his valuable ideas and advice. Authors also express their gratitude to the research infrastructure “System of experimental stations located along the latitudinal gradient” for fruitful cooperation (http://ckp-rf.ru/usu/586718/; http://www.secnet.online/megaustanovka-ru.html).

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Andronov, S., Lobanov, A., Popov, A. et al. Changing diets and traditional lifestyle of Siberian Arctic Indigenous Peoples and effects on health and well-being. Ambio 50, 2060–2071 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01387-9

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