Research Article| Volume 51, ISSUE 3, P318-325, March 2019

Traditional Food Practices, Attitudes, and Beliefs in Urban Alaska Native Women Receiving WIC Assistance

Published:November 05, 2018DOI:



      To identify practices, attitudes, and beliefs associated with intake of traditional foods among Alaska Native women.


      Cross-sectional study that measured traditional food intake; participation in food-sharing networks; presence of a hunter or fisherman in the home; the preference, healthfulness, and economic value of traditional foods; and financial barriers to obtaining these foods.


      Purposive sample of 71 low-income Alaska Native women receiving Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) assistance in Anchorage, AK.


      Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses.


      Traditional foods contributed 4% of total daily calories. Given a choice, 63% of participants indicated that they would prefer half or more of the foods they ate to be traditional (ie, not store-bought). The majority of participants (64%) believed that traditional foods were healthier than store-bought foods. Of all participants, 72% relied on food-sharing networks for traditional foods; only 21% acquired traditional foods themselves. Participants who ate more traditional foods preferred traditional foods (B = .011 P = .02).

      Implications for Research and Practice

      Traditional food intake was low and findings suggested that Alaska Native women living in an urban setting prefer to consume more but are unable to do so. Future research might examine the effect of enhancing social networks and implementing policies that support traditional food intake.

      Key Words

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