The purpose of the article is to compare different indicators of social position as measures of s ... Read more
The purpose of the article is to compare different indicators of social position as measures of social inequality in health in a population sample from an indigenous arctic people, the Inuit in Greenland. Data was collected during 2005–2015 and consisted of information from 3967 adult Inuit from towns and villages in all parts of Greenland. Social inequalities for smoking and central obesity were analysed in relation to seven indicators of social disparity in four dimensions, i.e. education and employment, economic status, sociocultural position, and place of residence. For each indicator we calculated age-adjusted prevalence by social group, rate ratio and the concentration index. The indicators were correlated with Pearson’s r ranging from 0.24 to 0.82. Concentration indices ranged from 0.01 to 0.17. We could not conclude that one indicator was superior to others. Most of the indicators were traditional socioeconomic indicators used extensively in research in western countries and these seemed to be useful among the Inuit too, in particular household assets and job. Two sociocultural indicators developed for use among the Inuit and which included parameters specific to the indigenous peoples in the transition from a traditional to a modern life style proved to be equally useful but not superior to the traditional socioeconomic indicators. The choice of indicator must depend on what it is realistic to collect in the actual research setting and the use of more than one indicator is recommended. It is suggested to further develop culture specific indicators of social position for indigenous peoples.
Greenland is a country in transition from a colonial past with subsistence hunting and fishing to ... Read more
Greenland is a country in transition from a colonial past with subsistence hunting and fishing to an urban Nordic welfare state. Epidemiological transition from infectious to chronic diseases has been evident since the 1950s. Ninety percent of the population is Inuit.
We studied three public health issues based on published literature, namely adverse childhood experiences, addictive behavior, and suicide; diet and obesity; and smoking. Alcohol consumption was high in the 1970s and 1980s with accompanying family and social disruption. This is still a cause of poor mental health and suicides in the generations most affected. The diet is changing from a traditional diet of fish and marine mammals to imported food including food items rich in sugar and fat from domestic animals, and the level of physical activity is decreasing with an ensuing epidemic rise in obesity. The prevalence of smoking is high at around 60% among both men and women and is only slowly decreasing. Smoking shows large social variation, and tobacco-related diseases are widespread.
The diseases and conditions outlined above all contribute towards a low life expectancy at birth—69 years for men and 74 years for women in 2011–2015—compared with 78 and 84 years for men and women, respectively, on average in the European countries. The translation of government public health programs into local activities needs strengthening, and it must be realized that the improvement of public health is a long-term process.