Eskimos Articles 1


The composition of food consumed by Greenland Eskimos.
(Bang et al., 1976) Download
Food specimens have been collected, by means of the double-portion technique, from Greenland Eskimo hunters and their wives, in all seven persons, on seven consecutive days. Their food was found to contain more protein and less carbohydrates than average Danish food and an almost equal amount of fat. Compared with Danish food, the fatty acid pattern of the consumed lipids--essentially of mammalian marine origin--showed a higher content of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially C20:5) and lower contents of linoleic and linolenic acids. However, the sum of the polyunsaturated fatty acids was smaller than in Danish food. Using Keys' formula, describing the serum cholesterol level as a function of the nutritional fatty acids, the essentially lower serum choelsterol level found in Greenland Eskimos was not explained by our findings. It is suggested instead to be a special metabolic effect of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from marine mammals. There might be a similar effect on the plasma triglyceride and very low density lipoprotein concentrations, explaining the much lower plasma concentrations of these components in Eskimos than in Western populations. Our findings might have an essential bearing on the difference in morbidity from coronary atherosclerotic disease between these populations.

Asthma in American Indians
            (Herxheimer, 1964) Download
To the Editor: The allergy textbooks (Urbach and Gottlieb, 1946, and others) usually refer to Coca, Waltzer and Thommen (1931), who state that asthma is almost unknown in American Indians. These authors print a number of reports of physicians then in charge of Indian hospitals in various parts of the United States. These 10 physicians independently and uniformly state that they have seen no asthma in their departments, but an occasional case of hay fever. Because about thirty-five years have passed since these statements were written, I made use of a recent invitation to the annual meeting of the American


Letter: Asthma in Canadian Eskimos.
            (Herxheimer and Schaefer, 1974) Download
It seems that in Eskimos, as in Indians, the occurrence of asthma is, so far, extremely rare.

Alaskan Arctic Eskimo: responses to a customary high fat diet.
            (Ho et al., 1972) Download
Thus atherosclerosis indeed exists in Eskimos but is less severe and only rarely produced clinical manifestations and fatal complications.

Medical Observations and Problems in the Canadian Arctic: Part I.
            (Schaefer, 1959a) Download
The author served four years as a field oficer of the Indian and Northern Health Services in the Far North, two years at Aklavik on the Mackenzie delta and two years at Pangnirtung on Baffin Island. Participation in the "Eastern Arctic Patrols" of 1955 and 1957 provided him with additional opportunity to examine both clinicaly and radiologically large numbers of Eastern Arctic Eskimos.

Medical observations and problems in the Canadian Arctic. II.
            (Schaefer, 1959b) Download
Eskimos as well as Northern Indians used to live as hunters on a diet consisting almost exclusively of meat, fish and fat. The only source of carbohydrates of practical importance was large amounts of berries collected by their women and children in the short summers.

Pre- and post-natal growth acceleration and increased sugar consumption in Canadian Eskimos.
            (Schaefer, 1970) Download
A striking increase in birth weights and height measurements in children of Canadian Eskimos was observed in recent years. The growth acceleration seen to varying degrees in different Eskimo groups appears most closely to parallel the increase in the per capita annual sugar consumption which has more than quadrupled during the last decade in some trading areas of the Canadian Central and Eastern Arctic, while the per capita consumption of protein derived from animal sources shows a reverse relationship. Canadian Eskimos do, therefore, contrary to what is stated in earlier publications, conform to the general secular growth acceleration patterns observed in all populations coming under the influence of modern civilization. They do not, however, conform to the commonly held explanation for this acceleration, namely increased consumption of high-quality proteins, since their traditionally extremely high consumption of meat and fish decreased markedly during the same period. Our observations confirm the relation of growth acceleration and consumption of sugar first established by the Swiss pediatrician, Eugen Ziegler. A hypothesis first advanced by Ziegler is elaborated to link this growth acceleration, in particular the extraordinary increase in birth weight, to "pseudo-diabetic" oral glucose tolerance patterns described previously by the author in a large proportion of Eskimos.

When the Eskimo comes to town.
            (Schaefer, 1971) Download
The varying incidences of “civilization” diseases appear to reflect the duration and the intensity of outside influences, or" acculturation" to the affluent civilization of modern Western man. The greatest impact has been through changes in both the eating habits and type of foods consumed by the Eskimos.

When the Eskimo Comes to Town.
            (Schaefer, 1977) Download
New research on the Canadian Eskimos and their eating habits shows high birthrates in some populations and declining ones in others. Important factors seem to be the increase in smoking among women, along with the rising births among teenagers.



Bang, HO, J Dyerberg, and N Hjøorne (1976), ‘The composition of food consumed by Greenland Eskimos.’, Acta Med Scand, 200 (1-2), 69-73. PubMed: 961471
Herxheimer, H (1964), ‘Asthma in American Indians’, NEJM, 270 (21), 1128. PubMed:
Herxheimer, H and O Schaefer (1974), ‘Letter: Asthma in Canadian Eskimos.’, N Engl J Med, 291 (26), 1419. PubMed: 4427652
Ho, KJ, et al. (1972), ‘Alaskan Arctic Eskimo: responses to a customary high fat diet.’, Am J Clin Nutr, 25 (8), 737-45. PubMed: 5046723
Schaefer, O (1959a), ‘Medical Observations and Problems in the Canadian Arctic: Part I.’, Can Med Assoc J, 81 (4), 248-53. PubMed: 20325986
——— (1959b), ‘Medical observations and problems in the Canadian Arctic. II.’, Can Med Assoc J, 81 386-93. PubMed: 13854653
——— (1970), ‘Pre- and post-natal growth acceleration and increased sugar consumption in Canadian Eskimos.’, Can Med Assoc J, 103 (10), 1059-68. PubMed: 5494825
——— (1971), ‘When the Eskimo comes to town.’, Nutrition Today, 6 8-16. PubMed:
——— (1977), ‘When the Eskimo Comes to Town.’, Nutrition Today, 12 (3), 21-33. PubMed: