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Fish consumption and use of omega 3 supplements in a sample of older Australians

Authors

  • Jessica Anne Grieger,

    Corresponding author
    • Flinders Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Michelle Miller,

    1. Flinders Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • Lynne Cobiac

    1. Flinders Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    2. CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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  • J.A. Grieger, PhD, Post-doctoral research fellow
  • M. Miller, PhD, APD, Associate Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics
  • L. Cobiac, PhD, APD, Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics

Correspondence: J.A. Grieger, Flinders University, Level 7E, Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Drive, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia. Email: jessica.grieger@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

Aim

Despite the established health benefits of fish, particularly long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, data on fish intake and the use of fish oil supplements in adult Australian is not well documented. In a sample of Australian adults aged ≥51 years, the aims were to determine: (i) the current intake of finfish/seafood and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids; (ii) the percentage meeting current Heart Foundation recommendations for long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intakes; and (iii) the percentage consuming omega 3 supplements.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional survey. Eight hundred and fifty-four Australians aged ≥51 years completed the survey online or by computer-assisted telephone interview. The survey included the quantitative fish frequency questionnaire and open- and closed-ended survey questions on demographics and supplement usage.

Results

The mean frequency of finfish/seafood consumption was 1.7 times per week (median intake 173 g). Thirteen per cent (n = 112) consumed finfish/seafood never/<1 per month and were considered ‘low consumers’; 34% ate any type of finfish/seafood ≥2 times per week. Excluding the low consumers, the mean (±standard deviation) daily intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids was 508 ± 855 mg and 28% consumed the recommended intake of 500 mg/day from finfish/seafood alone. Forty-three per cent consumed omega 3 supplements.

Conclusions

Current fish consumption in older Australians is low and many do not meet the current recommendations. A further understanding of why many older adults consume low amounts of finfish/seafood is necessary. Strategies to enhance intake to meet dietary recommendations in this older age group are required.

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