Factors that influence consumption of fish and omega-3-enriched foods: A survey of Australian families with young children
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Aim: The present study aimed to identify factors that influence the consumption of fish and foods that are enriched with omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA), in order to inform the development of effective nutrition education strategies. Methods: A cross-sectional, 10-item self-administered survey was conducted to 262 parents of children aged 9-13 years from a regional centre in New South Wales. Parents were asked questions related to frequency of consumption, and to identify factors that either encouraged or prevented the provision of fish/seafood and/or n-3 LCPUFA-enriched foods for their families. Results: Salmon, canned tuna, prawn and take-away fish were the most commonly eaten variants of fish/seafood, at approximately once a month. Perceived health benefits and the influence of media and health professionals in health promotion were identified as the primary motivators for consumption of fish/seafood and foods enriched with n-3 LCPUFA. Among families who consume fish, taste was valued as having a major positive influence, as well as preferences of individual family members, but the latter was perceived as an obstacle in non-fish consumers. Price was the main barrier to consumption of fresh, but not canned, fish and n-3-enriched foods, in both those that do and do not consume these foods. Conclusion: Despite Australian parents' knowledge of the health benefits n-3 LCPUFA, only a fifth of households meet the recommended two serves of fish per week, hence nutrition education strategies are warranted.