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Environ Res. 2014 Aug;133:141-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.05.014. Epub 2014 Jun 11.

Fish consumption behavior and rates in native and non-native people in Saudi Arabia.

Author information

  • 1Division of Life Sciences, Rutgers University, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA; Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA. Electronic address:
  • 2Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA; Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA.
  • 3Coastal and Marine Resources Core Laboratory, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.
  • 4Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • 5Directorate of Aquatic Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Fish are a healthy source of protein and nutrients, but contaminants in fish may provide health risks. Determining the risk from contaminants in fish requires site-specific information on consumption patterns. We examine consumption rates for resident and expatriates in the Jeddah region of Saudi Arabia, by species of fish and fishing location. For Saudis, 3.7% of males and 4.3% of females do not eat fish; for expatriates, the percent not eating fish is 6.6% and 6.1% respectively. Most people eat fish at home (over 90%), and many eat fish at restaurants (65% and 48%, respectively for Saudis and expatriates). Fish eaten at home comes from local fish markets, followed by supermarkets. Saudis included fish in their diets at an average of 1.4 ± 1.2 meals/week at home and 0.8 ± 0.7 meals/week at restaurants, while expats ate 2.0 ± 1.7 meals/week at home and 1.1 ± 1.1 meals/week in restaurants. Overall, Saudis ate 2.2 fish meals/week, while expats ate 3.1 meals/week. Grouper (Epinephelus and Cephalopholis) were eaten by 72% and 60% respectively. Plectropomus pessuliferus was the second favorite for both groups and Hipposcarus harid and Lethrinus lentjan were in 3rd and 4th place in terms of consumption. Average meal size was 68 g for Saudis and 128 g for expatriates. These data can be used by health professionals, risk assessors, and environmental regulators to examine potential risk from contaminants in fish, and to compare consumption rates with other sites.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Fish consumption; Fishing; Meal size; Meal/week; Saudi Arabia

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