Fish consumption patterns and contribution of fish to diets in rural households of Luwingu district in Northern province, Zambia.

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Maila, Geofrey
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The University of Zambia
Fish provide high-quality proteins and micronutrients, when taken adequately it can help in reducing undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in Zambia. Little is known with regard to fish consumption patterns and contribution of fish to rural household diets. Therefore, this study aimed at assessing the fish consumption patterns and contribution of fish to rural household diets in Luwingu district of Northern Province. A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used. A sample of 132 households with women of reproductive age (15-49 years), children (6-59 months), and men (18-64 years) in Luwingu district were enrolled in the study. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, socio-economic and demographic data was collected. A food frequency questionnaire (with a 7-day recall period) and a 24-hour recall questionnaire were used to collect household and individual dietary data, respectively. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0 and Microsoft excel 2013 version, while Nutrisurvey 2007 was used to analyze nutrient content of foods. Nutrient contribution ratio was used to determine the contribution of fish to diets. Overall, fish was the most consumed animal-source food in the study site. About 75.8% of the households consumed fish 24 hours prior to the interview. Other animal-source foods consumed were eggs (3.8%), meat (1.5%), and poultry (0.8%). On average, children aged 6-12 months consumed 60.4 ± 35.2 g of fish per day while those aged 13-36 months had 73.8 ± 51.0 g and 37-59 months consumed 87.9 ± 45.7 g of fish per day. Women and men had a mean intake of 162.1 ± 86.0 g and 173.3 ± 70.0 g of fish per day, respectively. In 7 days prior to the interview, the study showed that all households (100%) consumed fish at least once in the past 7 days among other animal-source foods. Small pelagic fish were the most consumed, as these were consumed once or more times per day. Other animal source foods consumed by households included eggs (31%), meat (13.6%), and poultry (18%) while the least consumed animal-source foods were milk (0.8%) and wild birds (3.2%). The determined intake of micronutrients from fish among children showed no significant difference in intake of vitamin A (p = 0.22), calcium (p = 0.544) and iron (p = 0.479) while the difference in intake was observed in proteins (p = 0.042). In adults, differences in intake were vi | P a g e observed in proteins (p = 0.028) and iron (p = 0.008) while in calcium (p = 0.919) and vitamin A (p = 0.161) there was no difference. Fish contributed more in terms of proteins and calcium while lower contribution was observed in iron and vitamin A across all categories of study participants‟ diets and the contribution of diets to recommended nutrient intake (RNI) was fairly low for most of the nutrients. Among the barriers to fish consumption, price of fish was the most common barrier in households. The results from the current study show that fish plays a critical role in the household‟s diets of Luwingu district and can be incorporated in policies and programs aimed at improving food and nutrition security and ultimately contribute to the reduction of undernutrition in Zambia.
Fish as food. , Seafood--Health aspects.