University of Alaska Research Center Receives NIH Grants To Study Health, Diet of Alaskan Natives
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.
The first grant, worth nearly $11 million over five years, allows the center to continue to examine the relationship between obesity and chronic diseases among Alaskan Natives. The center received a similar NIH grant in 2001 (AP/Anchorage Daily News, 9/28). Researchers will look at weight, nutrition and overall health among Alaskan Natives in terms of genetics, diet and culture (CANHR release, 9/12).
In addition, Center Co-Director Bert Boyer received a $2.8 million grant to look at the role of polyunsaturated fat in the overall health of Yup'ik Eskimos in western Alaska. Boyer said that Yup'ik Eskimos "have among the lowest levels of metabolic syndrome (or risk of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes) of any group worldwide, yet they are as overweight as anyone else in America."
Boyer said, "Yup'ik elders have always felt that their subsistence foods and lifestyle are healthy, and we want to give them scientific evidence that an active lifestyle and their diet rich in (polyunsaturated fatty acids) is indeed healthy."
Researchers also will study the cultural attitudes toward health and diet among Yup'ik Eskimos (AP/Anchorage Daily News, 9/28).