British Journal of Nutrition

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Fish consumption in relation to other foods in the diet

Anu W. Turunena1 c1, Satu Männistöa2, Anna L. Suominena1a3, Pekka Tiittanena1 and Pia K. Verkasaloa1

a1 National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Environmental Health, Neulaniementie 4, FI-70210 Kuopio, Finland

a2 National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, Mannerheimintie 164a, FI-00300 Helsinki, Finland

a3 University of Turku, Institute of Dentistry, Lemminkäisenkatu 2, FI-20520 Turku, Finland


Our aim was to investigate whether fish consumption is associated with the consumption of other healthy foods. The study population consisted of 2605 men and 3199 women from the nationally representative Health 2000 survey and 114 professional fishermen and 114 fishermen's wives (the Fishermen substudy) in Finland. Dietary data were collected using a calibrated (i.e. determined to have relative validity) FFQ. Model-adjusted means for food consumption and P values for linear trend were calculated across fish consumption tertiles. Those with the highest fish consumption had the highest consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries, potatoes, oil and wine even after adjusting for other food groups. The consumption of red meat and sausages had a tendency to decrease across fish consumption tertiles but the associations were inconsistent in the study populations. In conclusion, fish consumption had a positive linear association with the consumption of some other healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, berries, and oil both in the general population of Finland and in a population with high fish consumption. Additional adjustment for other food groups had a clear effect on some of the studied associations. Therefore, when evaluating the health effects of fish consumption, confounding by other foods characterising a healthy diet needs to be considered.

(Received August 23 2010)

(Revised March 17 2011)

(Accepted March 17 2011)

(Online publication June 08 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Anu W. Turunen, fax +358 20 610 6499, email