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Heavy Cost of Fat

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The Hunt for Health
Photograph by Karen Kasmauski

A bloody harvest of bearded seals—locally known as uugruk—means a successful springtime hunt for Alaska natives near Cape Krusenstern, just north of the Arctic Circle. Used as a preservative for dried fish, as well as a traditional dip for caribou, fish, and vegetables, seal oil is rich in omega-3, a "good" fat that promotes cardiovascular health. But Western foods high in salt, sugar, and carbohydrates have become common in Alaska native culture over the past few decades, and Western health problems—obesity, diabetes, and heart disease—are now common as well. One local woman notes sadly, "In my mother's generation people wore down their teeth by chewing seal hides. Now teeth just decay from all the sugar in our diet."

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F100
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: Nikon 29mm f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/2.8
Weather Conditions: Overcast
Time of Day: Early evening
Lighting Techniques: Natural light

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