Eating Fish: Maximizing the Benefits and Minimizing the Risk

Format Publication ID Version Published
Case, Presentation 9067 1 January 4, 2012


Eating fish is generally accepted as an important part of a healthy diet. The AHA diet and lifestyle recommendations suggest consuming oily fish at least twice a week. While consuming fish has important health benefits, it also poses some potential risks. Certain fish contain significant levels of chemicals that can potentially be harmful particularly for children and women of child-bearing age. Understanding the risks and benefits of eating fish and being able to effectively counsel patients on how to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of eating fish is an important skill for physicians, especially those who practice in areas where fish consumption is high and/or sport fishing is a common activity.


Rosenman K, Solomon D, Hortos K, McAdam R. Eating Fish: Maximizing the Benefits and Minimizing the Risk . MedEdPORTAL; 2012. Available from:

Contains time-sensitive information that will likely be inaccurate, obsolete, or irrelevant by April 09, 2014

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

  1. To identify and characterize a patient's fish dietary history.
  2. To assess a patient's risk ingesting harmful chemicals from eating fish.
  3. To counsel patients on maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks from eating fish and fish oil.


  • Diet (MeSH), Fish Oils (MeSH), Mercury (MeSH), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (MeSH), Heart Health, Chlorinated Hydrocarbons (MeSH), PCD, Dioxins (MeSH)


  • Medical
    • Family Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Pediatrics

Competencies Addressed

  • Medical
    • Interpersonal & Communication Skills
    • Medical Knowledge
    • Patient Care
    • Practice-based Learning & Improvement

Academic Focus

  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Professional Interest

  • Communication Skills
  • Counseling (Personal or Academic)
  • Health Education
  • Nutrition

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Medical Student
    • Nursing Student
    • Public Health Student

Instructional Methods

  • Problem-based Learning
  • Simulation
  • Standardized Patient

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