‘A randomised control trial evaluating the likelihood of adults to increase their oily fish consumption in response to promotion of either the associated Health or Non-Health Benefits
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: Adults in the United Kingdom consume insufficient oily fish to meet recommendations. Improving knowledge of the associated health benefits and providing solutions to overcome perceived barriers to change each have the potential to encourage increased consumption. Methods: A randomised control trial evaluated the likelihood of two age categories of adults (18-25 and 40-65) to increase their oily fish consumption in response to viewing either a leaflet detailing the associated Health Benefits, or the Non-Health Benefits with specific focus on overcoming perceived barriers to change. Results: The majority of participants in every cohort indicated either considering increasing their consumption or felt likely to do so, regardless of which leaflet was viewed. The Health Benefits leaflet more frequently prompted 40-65 year old participants to indicate feeling likely to increase their consumption, whilst the Non-Health Benefits leaflet most commonly provoked the same response in 18-25 year old participants. The barrier most frequently inhibiting consumption in each cohort was the negative attitude of another individual towards oily fish. Conclusions: There is some evidence that adults of various ages respond positively to alternating contents in health promotion literature. However, this study found no statistically significant differences between the likelihood of participants from the two age categories to increase their consumption in response to either leaflet. Both leaflets have the potential to increase consumption in younger and older adults, given the overall positive response. Until further larger-scale research is carried out, healthcare professionals should discuss with clients both the associated health benefits and ways in which oily fish might be more easily incorporated into the diet. This is essential in order to expose a greater proportion of the population to the beneficial nutrients within oily fish.
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