• The Effect of Cultural Beliefs and Customs on Nutritional Attitudes and Food Choices of Alaska Natives Living With Chronic Diseases in the Anchorage Metropolitan Area

      Anderson, Sadie (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      Alaska Native and American Indian people are heavily affected by chronic diseases such obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Redwood, Lanier, Johnston, Asay, & Slattery, 2010). The presence or severity of many chronic diseases is directly correlated with the type of diet people consume. This study explored how culture influences the understanding of nutritional status and food choices of Alaska native people living in Anchorage, Alaska. Focus groups were held with Alaska Native adults who were living with a chronic disease. Open-ended questions were asked about the participants’ culture and food choices. Themes and subthemes emerged through data analysis using the PEN-3 model. Findings from the focus groups indicated that participants believed traditional foods had significant cultural and nutritional value, but there was decreased access to traditional foods in the rural setting. Participants often gave in to the pressures of a busy lifestyle and did not eat as healthy as they would like. Participants were seeking information to improve their diet and health in a culturally effective way conducive to their learning style.