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Cancer-related health behaviors and health service use among Inuit and other residents of Canada’s north


  • James Ted McDonald
  • Ryan Trenholm


Objective – To identify the extent to which differences between Inuit and other residents of Canada’s North in a set of health behaviors and health service use related to cancer incidence and diagnosis can be accounted for by demographic, socio-economic and geographic factors. Study Design – Data on residents aged 21-65 who live in Canada’s North are drawn from the 2000-01 and 2004-05 Canadian Community Health Surveys and the 2001 Aboriginal People’s Survey. Methods – Multivariate Logistic regression analysis is applied to 1) a set of health behaviors including smoking, binge drinking and obesity, and 2) a set of basic health service use measures including consultations with a physician and with any medical professional, Pap smear testing and mammography. Results – Higher smoking and binge drinking rates and lower rates of female cancer screening among Inuit are not accounted for by differences in demographic characteristics, education, location of residence or distance from a hospital. Conclusions – Factors specific to Inuit individuals and communities may be contributing to negative health behaviors associated with increased cancer risk, and to a lower incidence of diagnostic cancer screening. Policy interventions to address these issues may need to be targeted specifically to Inuit Canadians.

Suggested Citation

  • James Ted McDonald & Ryan Trenholm, 2009. "Cancer-related health behaviors and health service use among Inuit and other residents of Canada’s north," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 248, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:248

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lori J. Curtis, 2007. "Health Status of On and Off-reserve Aboriginal Peoples: Analysis of the Aboriginal Peoples Survey," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 191, McMaster University.
    2. Wilson, Kathleen & Rosenberg, Mark W., 2002. "Exploring the determinants of health for First Nations peoples in Canada: can existing frameworks accommodate traditional activities?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(11), pages 2017-2031, December.
    3. Richmond, Chantelle A.M. & Ross, Nancy A., 2008. "Social support, material circumstance and health behaviour: Influences on health in First Nation and Inuit communities of Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(9), pages 1423-1433, November.
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    More about this item


    Inuit; aboriginal; cancer screening; smoking; health;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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