Indigenous circumpolar populations have experienced profound transitions in lifeways over the past half-century as a result of economic development. Although there have been positive aspects of this social transformation, most circumpolar groups today have a triple burden of disease, with a modestly elevated infectious disease level, an elevated and increasing burden of chronic conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular disease, and high rates of mental health–related challenges. The health of contemporary circumpolar populations is not easily characterized because of dramatic regional differences that stem from socioeconomic disparities among nonindigenous groups, individual population histories, lifestyle factors, environmental pollution, and underlying biological variation. Overall health and well-being range from excellent among the Sami of Sweden and Norway to extremely poor among marginalized native populations in northern Russia. Circumpolar groups today are not only threatened by continued regional economic development and pollution, but also uniquely vulnerable to global climate change.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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