The Canadian Food Guide Essay
The Canadian Food Guide1 is an important health promotion tool, as long as it is adapted to the sociocultural context in which it is used. This is crucial for the First Nations, which are struggling with health problems related to nutrition and whose traditional eating habits must be taken into account2. Drawing deeply into their values and culture, Atikamekw health services have developed their own Food Guide (AFG) in 1998. For ten years, it was the main tool used by health workers to teach basic principles of healthy eating.
The 2007 publication of the latest Canada's Food Guide, with recommendations for healthy eating based on scientific evidence, including a customized version for First Nations, Inuit and Metis …show more content…
The Atikamekw nation living in Manawan, Opitciwan and Wemotaci (Quebec, Canada):
• communities located in the forest (average 150 km from the nearest town)
• 5600 inhabitants, half are under 20 years old
• approximately 1,000 people live off-reserve
• 432 registered diabetics (March 2010)
• in Manawan, 1/3 of households affected by food insecurity3.
The review was conducted in three stages, upon receipt of funding from Health Canada (Quebec Region):
1. Three focus groups (n = 30) were conducted in the communities in order to achieve an evaluation of the AFG and establish a new model;
2. A draft was prepared by a committee specially formed and tested with key informants;
3. National Office FNIHB Health Canada (Nutrition Unit) agreed to sell the rights to use images of food and acted as expert
The new AFG was launched in spring 2009. Additional educational and promotional materials were produced from the same funding:
• large format posters, additional documents forming part of the AFG, specifically on food selection in grocery stores,
• advertisement posters and aprons for adults and children.
The completion of the second edition of the AFG highlighted a collective awareness about the importance of a healthy diet. Overall, Atikamekw are satisfied to find better and more accurate information in their new tool. The conservation of the cultural symbolism