Denmark: Parents’ uncertainty deprives children of fish

by Thomas Jensen

Despite living in a country surrounded by water, Danish children fail to eat the recommended weekly portion of fish, reports Denmark’s national broadcaster. And the reason is not that they dislike fish—on the contrary. The problem apparently lies with their parents who are uncertain how to prepare and serve fish, according to recent research by researchers at Copenhagen University and the Vocational College Absalon. Responses from 669 children between 11 and 13 revealed that only 42% had eaten fish within the last week and that 70% liked fish. The research was part of Rikke Højer’s PhD thesis at Copenhagen University. The solution may be for parents to familiarise themselves with a couple of simple preparations, fish fillets, for example, or fish cakes, she says. Michael Bom Frøst, from the Department of Food Science at Copenhagen University, who was also behind the study, says children feel more comfortable with foods if they are used to helping in the kitchen. An earlier study by the Arla foundation reported that only a quarter of Danish children regularly participated in cooking-related activities. Mr Frøst says it is well documented that people tend to adhere more closely to official dietary guidelines and have a healthier food lifestyle if they are proficient in the kitchen. Fish is a good source of several vitamins and minerals as well as protein and healthful fats, so it is important for both children and adults to eat the recommended quantities.


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