Communicating advisories on the risk of mercury in fish to the Chinese-Canadian community

Fung, Maxine Ming-Sum
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University of Guelph

Thirty-four pregnant Chinese-Canadian women, who self-reported eating a minimum of one meal of fish per week, were recruited from four Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program classes across Metro Toronto to take part in five focus groups conducted in Cantonese or Mandarin. Groups were asked 15 semi-structured questions on the participants' fish consumption habits, awareness of advisories, knowledge of mercury, and their response to messages about mercury in fish. Few participants were aware or had knowledge of advisory messages, and most were generally shocked to hear consumption recommendations. Information issued by public health organizations was well received and trusted. Motivation for behavioural change often stemmed from concern for their children. Resources targeting Chinese-Canadians must focus on creating culturally sensitive materials that are offered in Chinese with visual elements to keep the text brief. Using the internet to post information may be a possibility for future investigation.

Chinese-Canadian, women, fish consumption habits, mercury, advisory messages, consumption recommendations