Factors that influence consumption of fish and omega–3-enriched foods: A survey of Australian families with young children
- S. Rahmawaty, MHSc, PhD student
- K. Charlton, PhD APD, A/Professor
- P. Lyons-Wall, PhD APD, A/Professor
- B.J. Meyer, PhD, RNutr, A/Professor
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.
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.
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.
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.