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ARCTIC SEMINAR SERIES: Inuit Health in a changing Arctic

by Prof. Eva Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Centre for Arctic Health, Aarhus University

2014.09.16 | Christina Levisen

Date Tue 18 Nov
Time 14:00 15:00
Location AIAS, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, building 1632, room 203

Title: Inuit Health in a changing Arctic


The Greenlandic society is both climatically and culturally changing, and the living conditions have in some instances improved significantly in the latter part of the 20th century. From living in settlements and small villages being a traditional hunting society with fishing and hunting, the lifestyle has become more Western. This lifestyle and cultural changes have impacts on social and health factors of the Arctic populations. The traditional Inuit diet was for many decades mainly marine food items such as whale, seal, polar bear and fish containing many essential and healthy nutrition factors such as e.g. omga-3 fatty acid and antioxidants as selenium. However, an array of persistent environmental industrial chemicals has been transported to the Arctic with the atmosphere and ocean currents, and bio-accumulated in the marine food chain and thus in humans. These persistent chemicals are known to exert health impacts on the immune-, reproductive and neuroendocrine systems and increasing the risk of some cancers. The change to a more Western lifestyle decreases the consumption of the traditional marine diet and thus a trend to a decrease of the level of some persistent chemicals in the blood of Inuit in the Arctic. However, at the same time an increase in Western-like diseases is observed. That is the Arctic dilemma.

The talk will include examples of how these Arctic changes can impact the health of the Arctic populations and a short presentation of some current ARC-Health projects.

The Arctic Seminars is a forum for interdisciplinary discussions on research perspectives in the Arctic region. The presenters in the Seminar series come from a variety of disciplines across the four faculties involved in ARC. 

All interested are welcome to participate. There will be coffee and tea during the seminar.