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To describe seafood consumption patterns in First Nations (FN) in British Columbia (BC) and examine lifestyle characteristics associated with seafood consumption; to identify the top ten most consumed seafood species and their contributions to EPA and DHA intake; and to estimate dietary exposure to methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene.
Dietary and lifestyle data from the First Nations Food Nutrition and Environment Study, a cross-sectional study of 1103 FN living in twenty-one communities across eight ecozones in BC, Canada, were analysed. Seafood consumption was estimated using a traditional FFQ. Seafood samples were analysed for contaminant contents.
Seafood consumption patterns varied significantly across BC ecozones reflecting geographical diversity of seafood species. The top ten most consumed species represented 64 % of total seafood consumption by weight and contributed 69 % to the total EPA+DHA intake. Mean EPA+DHA intake was 660·5 mg/d in males, 404·3 mg/d in females; and 28 % of FN met the Recommended Intake (RI) of 500 mg/d. Salmon was the most preferred species. Seafood consumption was associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption, lower smoking rate and increased physical activity. Dietary exposure to selected contaminants from seafood was negligible.
In FN in BC, seafood continues to be an essential part of the contemporary diet. Seafood contributed significantly to reaching the RI for EPA+DHA and was associated with a healthier lifestyle. Given numerous health benefits, seafood should be promoted in FN. Efforts towards sustainability of fishing should be directed to maintain and improve access to fisheries for FN.
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