Online Program

Effect of a web-based mercury calculator on consumer fish choices and test of a model for technology acceptance by fish consumers

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 5:30 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.

Sharon Wallace, PhD, RN, CCRN, School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Background: Research indicates consumers lack adequate information about mercury content of fish to make informed choices about eating fish. Consumers are largely unaware magnitude of dose depends on fish species, portion, servings, and body weight. Health information technology can empower consumers and satisfy information needs. Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of using a web-based mercury calculator to provide mercury exposure feedback, tailored to individual fish consumption practices, on consumers' fish choices. A secondary aim was to test a model regarding consumer acceptance of the calculator. Methods: A two-part study was conducted using a convenience sample of fish eaters. The Theory of Planned Behavior and the Technology Acceptance Model served as frameworks. Three-hundred forty-one participants responded to this on-line study. A one-group, pre-test-post-test design was used to investigate effect of a web-based mercury calculator on fish eaters' perceived behavioral control and adherence to mercury exposure limits using simulated fish choices. Next, a cross-sectional design was used to collect data about consumers' acceptance of the calculator. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test theorized relationships among perceived ease-of-use, perceived usefulness, age, sex, education level, decision-making, and frequency of fish consumption on intent to use the mercury calculator. Results: McNemar test results showed significant increases in high knowledge participants after using the mercury calculator (p=.001) and significant decreases in participants who selected high mercury fish (p=.036). SEM findings showed significantly positive relationships between perceived ease-of-use and perceived usefulness, sex and perceived usefulness, decision-making and perceived usefulness, and perceived usefulness and intent to use the mercury calculator. Conclusion: Findings suggest health information technology can be used to reduce mercury exposure in diverse and at-risk populations who consume fish for a healthy diet. Findings also suggest fish consumers accept a web-based mercury calculator to reduce a health risk.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the effectiveness of consumers using a web-based mercury calculator to reduce mercury exposure associated with eating fish. Identify diverse and at-risk populations of fish eaters most likely to accept health information technology to reduce mercury exposure.

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Health Risks

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Using health information technology to promote health and reduce risk is among my scientific interests. I have been a past presentor at the APAH conference. I have also presented health topics at local, national and international conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.