Factors that influence consumption of fish and omega–3-enriched foods: A survey of Australian families with young children

Authors

  • Setyaningrum Rahmawaty,

    1. Metabolic Research Centre, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    2. School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behaviour Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Karen Charlton,

    1. Metabolic Research Centre, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Philippa Lyons-Wall,

    1. School of Exercise and Health Sciences, Faculty of Computing, Health and Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Barbara J. Meyer

    Corresponding author
    1. Metabolic Research Centre, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    2. School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behaviour Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    • Correspondence: B.J. Meyer, School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia. Email: bmeyer@uow.edu.au

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  • 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

Abstract

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.

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