Preservation of lung health requires understanding the modifiable risk factors of airflow limitation. This study investigates the association between diet and lung function in a population of Greenland Inuit residing in the Arctic (Greenland) or Western Europe (Denmark).
Two unselected Inuit populations were recruited, one living in Greenland (Urban (Nuuk) n=358; Rural (Uummannaq) n=207) and the other in Denmark (n=539). Lung function was measured using spirometry and diet by a food frequency questionnaire. Factors associated with airflow limitation were assessed using multiple linear regression models.
The dietary composition differed significantly in the two regions, with higher whale, seal and wild meat intake and lower fruit and vegetable intake in the Arctic regions compared with Denmark. Consumption of vegetables (P=0.004) and whale and/or seal (P<0.0001) was significantly and positively associated with FEV1, as well as with FVC (vegetables: P=0.001, whale and/or seal: P=0.002). Regular fruit intake was included in the statistical models; however, it did not reach statistical significance (FEV1: P=0.053; FVC: P=0.055).
High dietary intake of vegetables as well as intake of arctic marine mammals had independent positive associations with lung function in this cohort of Greenlandic Inuit. These findings suggest an additive role of dietary intake of antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids in lung health, which warrants prospective evaluation.
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We acknowledge Peter Bjerregaard and the Greenlandic Population Study. This study was funded by the Bispebjerg University Hospital.
Study design and conception: KJB, VB, PGG, HP and CMP. Data collection and interpretation: KJB, VB, PGG, HP and CMP. Data analysis: HP. Writing of the manuscript: KJB, VB, PGG, HP and CMP. Editing and review of the manuscript: KJB, VB, PGG, HP and CMP.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Baines, K., Backer, V., Gibson, P. et al. Investigating the effects of arctic dietary intake on lung health. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 1262–1266 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2015.85