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Indigenous peoples' nutrition transition in a right to food perspective


  • Damman, Siri
  • Eide, Wenche Barth
  • Kuhnlein, Harriet V.


In indigenous communities the nutrition transition characterized by a rapid westernization of diet and lifestyle is associated with rising prevalence of chronic disease. Field work and literature reviews from two different policy environments, Argentina (Jujuy) and Canada (Nunavut), identified factors that add to indigenous peoples' disease risk. The analytical framework was the emerging human right to adequate food approach to policies and programmes. Indigenous peoples' chronic disease risk tends to increase as a result of government policies that infringe on indigenous peoples' livelihoods and territories, undermining their economic system, values and solidarity networks. Policies intended to increase food security, including food aid, may also fuel the nutrition transition. There is a need to explore further the connection between well-intended policies towards indigenous peoples and the development of chronic diseases, and to broaden the understanding of the role that different forms of discrimination play in the westernization of their lifestyles, values and food habits. Food policies that take due account of indigenous peoples' human rights, including their right to enjoy their culture, may counteract the growth of chronic disease in these communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Damman, Siri & Eide, Wenche Barth & Kuhnlein, Harriet V., 2008. "Indigenous peoples' nutrition transition in a right to food perspective," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 135-155, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:2:p:135-155

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oshaug, Arne & Eide, Wenche Barth & Eide, Asbjorn, 1994. "Human rights: a normative basis for food and nutrition-relevant policies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 491-516, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Iyer, Deepa & Wright, Wynne, 2016. "Food insecurity, helplessness, and choice: Gender and diet change in the central Himalaya," Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security, Africa Centre for Gender, Social Research and Impact Assessment, vol. 1(3), November.
    2. repec:eee:jfpoli:v:73:y:2017:i:c:p:75-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:agrhuv:v:35:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10460-017-9846-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Annie Booth & Norm Skelton, 2011. "“You spoil everything!” Indigenous peoples and the consequences of industrial development in British Columbia," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 685-702, August.
    5. Stoddard, Pamela & Handley, Margaret A. & Vargas Bustamante, Arturo & Schillinger, Dean, 2011. "The influence of indigenous status and community indigenous composition on obesity and diabetes among Mexican adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(11), pages 1635-1643.

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