Fish eating behavior and stages of change in rural, low income, women of childbearing age
Heineman, Sara Christine.
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Methyl Mercury (MeHg) is a known neurotoxin associated with poor neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. The primary route of exposure of MeHg in humans is from consumption of contaminated fish. Although some disparities in exposure patterns have been identified, little is known about rural, low income, women of childbearing age and their fish eating behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between stages of behavioral change in fish eating behavior and self-reported consumption of fish among 106 rural low-income women of childbearing age. Results of the one-way ANOVA do not show a statistically significant difference in fish consumption within the sample based on stage of change. However, many of the participants of this study may be at risk for significant exposures to MeHg based on total fish consumption regardless of their decision to limit fish consumption. Further investigation is needed to determine types and sources of fish being consumed and fully understand exposure risks. Once risks are established, opportunities for prevention can be utilized to reduce impacts from MeHg exposures.