Fish contain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are associated with decreased cardiovascular (CVD) risk. However, frying fish alters the fatty acids. Consumption of fried fish has been linked to increased risk of CVD and stroke, particularly in populations in the South's Stroke Belt. The purpose of this study was to explore characteristics associated with fried vs. non-fried fish consumption in the rural Appalachian region of the Stroke Belt.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
Volunteers (n = 195) completed demographic and food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) during a community health event in rural Central Appalachia.
Age, gender, education, and income were assessed. Frequency of fried vs. non-fried fish consumption was calculated from the FFQ using DietCalc software.
Average age was 55 years old (SD = 15.44, range: 19-95). Females comprised 69% (n = 134) of sample. For 41% (n = 79), high school was the highest educational level, and 41.5% (n = 81) had a college degree. Income was < $30,000 per year in 49.2% (n = 96) of participants. Fried and non-fried fish was consumed at least twice monthly by 39.3% and 34.3% of participants, respectively. Advancing age was associated with a greater likelihood to consume fried fish (β = .225, t = 3.20, P = .002). Participants with more education were less likely to consume fried fish (β = -.124, t = -1.73, P = .085). Income and gender were not associated with fried or non-fried fish consumption.
Fried fish is popular in the South. While non-fried fish is associated with lower CVD and stroke risk, fried fish consumed more than twice weekly increases these risks by 63%. Interventions aimed at increasing the consumption of non-fried fish and reducing fried fish consumption are needed, particularly for older adults and those with lower levels of education.