A Family Seafood Selection Scenario

Description of Family Members


father; 57 years old; his father died of a heart attack at 56 years old


mother; 55 years old; no family history of cardiovascular disease


son; 32 years old; healthy, but his BMI is 28


daughter; 25 years old; married to Jim and is 2 months pregnant with her first child


cousin; 28 years old; lives in Alaska and is visiting Sharon

Context of their lives

Tom, Nan, Dave, Sharon, and Jim live near a lake in the Midwest. They are recreational fishers but tend to catch and release. They usually purchase seafood from the local supermarket.

The family is very health-conscious, and every member goes for yearly check-ups. During Tom’s last visit to his cardiologist, the nurse gave him a pamphlet that encouraged him to eat two servings per week of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Nan’s gynecologist confirmed that she is in menopause, encouraged her to continue her healthy lifestyle, and suggested she might want to go to the website to get a personalized diet plan using the new Food Guidance System. Since Tom’s father died from a heart attack at a young age, Nan has tried to choose lean meat for dinner, including a weekly serving of lean seafood (primarily shrimp). She chooses shrimp because of local advisories warning against eating fatty fish, due to their DLC content. When she goes to her market, she is unable to tell where the fish came from, so she figured shrimp would be the safest.

Dave relies on fast foods. His primary seafood selection, which is a fried fish sandwich, is eaten at least three times a week. Dave was told by his general practitioner to lose weight and he suggested eating lean poultry, meat, and fish.

Sharon and Jim became more thoughtful about their eating patterns when Sharon’s pregnancy was confirmed. Before this time, they rarely ate seafood except for canned white tuna which they used occasionally for luncheon sandwiches. On Sharon’s first visit to her obstetrician, she told Sharon to increase her intake of DHA and EPA but then Sharon was given a pamphlet that warned her against eating certain fish because they contain methylmercury. Sharon left the office very confused.

Cindy lives in Alaska with her husband’s family, who are Inuit. Cindy has acclimated to her new lifestyle with her husband and family. She now eats their traditional diet, including marine seafood. She is planning to get pregnant and is excited to learn what to expect from Sharon.

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