U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega 3 fatty acid intake results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003 2008

January 1, 2014 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega 3 fatty acid intake results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003 2008

Year: 2014
Authors: Papanikolaou, Y. Brooks, J. Reider, C. Fulgoni, V.L.
Publication Name: Nutr. J.
Publication Details: Volume 13; Page 31

Abstract:

Background  The American Heart Association’s Strategic Impact Goal Through 2020 and Beyond recommends less than or equal to  two 3.5 oz fish servings per week (preferably oily fish) partly to increase intake of omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We examined the intake of total fish, fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, alpha  linolenic acid, EPA, and DHA in U.S. adults (19 plus years) using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003 to 2008. Methods  Usual intakes from foods alone and from foods plus dietary supplements were determined using the methods from the National Cancer Institute. Results  Mean usual intake of total fish and fish high in omega 3 fatty acids was 0.61  plus or minus  0.03 and 0.15 plus or minus  0.03 oz per day, 0.43 and 0.07 respectively. Total fish and fish high in omega 3 fatty acids median intake was 0.43 and 0.07 oz per day, respectively. Intake from foods alone for ALA, EPA and DHA was 1.5 plus or minus   0.01 g per d, 23 plus or minus  7 mg per d and 63 plus or minus  2 mg per d, respectively. ALA, EPA and DHA from food only median intakes were 1.4 g per d, 18 mg per d and 50 mg per d, respectively. Intake of ALA, EPA and DHA from foods and dietary supplements was 1.6 plus or minus  0.04 g per d, 41 plus or minus   4 mg per d and 72 plus or minus  4 mg per d, respectively. While intakes of fish high in omega 3 fatty acids were higher in older adults (0.13 plus or minus   0.01 oz per d for those 19 to 50 yrs and 0.19 plus or minus   0.02 o per d for those 51 plus  year) and in males as compared to females (0.18 plus or minus  0.02 versus  0.13 plus or minus   0.01 oz per d, respectively), few consumed recommended levels. Males also had higher intake of EPA and DHA from foods and dietary supplements relative to females (44 plus or minus  6 versus 39 plus or minus  4 and 90 plus or minus  7 versus 59 plus or minus   4 mg per d, respectively) and older adults had higher intakes of EPA, but not DHA compared to younger adults (EPA  34 plus or minus   3 versus 58 plus or minus  9, DHA  68 plus or minus  4 versus 81 plus or minus   6). Conclusions  As omega 3 fatty acids are deemed important from authoritative bodies, supplementation in addition to food sources may need to be considered to help U.S. adults meet recommendations. (Authors abstract)
Morbidity and mortality from CVD remains high with prevalence estimates in the United States at approximately 82.6 million. The prevention of CVD has become a public health initiative with many attributing variables, of which includes the consumption of plant based,  fish and fish derived omega 3 fatty acids. Both randomized clinical interventions and observational studies highlight the cardioprotective effects associated with diets
higher in fish and omega 3 fatty acid intake, including alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These studies have prompted the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to recommend the consumption of two servings of seafood per week (4 oz per serving), to provide an average of 250 mg per day of long chain omega 3 fatty acids, in persons with and without CVD. While the cardioprotective effect of ALA has been questioned previously, several studies using large sample populations have reported ALA intake to be inversely associated with primary cardiovascular events.  Since a substantiated benefit has been established
for omega 3 fatty acid consumption, it becomes important to assess usual intakes in American adults.  Therefore, the objective of the present analysis was to
examine the intake of total fish, fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, alpha  linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in U.S. adults (19 plus  years of age) using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003 to 2008. In general, the present NHANES analysis demonstrates that a large percentage of the US adult population is not meeting recommendations for omega 3 fatty acid consumption set forth by the 2010 DGA. Intakes of fish high in omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, were greater in older adults and in males in comparison to younger adults and females, respectively  Fish is not a habitually consumed food in the US, creating a challenge in estimating usual intake. In the US, per capita salmon consumption represents the single largest contributor to dietary intake of long chain omega 3 fatty acids. Previous findings report intake of total omega 3 fatty acids in the United States to be approximately 1.6 g per day, of which 0.1 to  0.2 g per day stemming from EPA and DHA and 1.4 g per day from ALA. The current data show that US adults less than or equal to 19 years of age consume 0.41 g per day and 0.72 g per day of EPA and DHA from foods and supplements, respectively. While daily intake has increased substantially in nearly two decades, American adults are not meeting recommendations for fish derived omega 3 fatty acids.  A limitation of this report is that the estimates relied on self reported dietary data for intake of total fish and omega 3 fatty acids from both foods and dietary supplements. The current observational findings show that a significant number of American adults are not meeting recommendations for omega 3 fatty acid intake. This dietary behavior may have negative consequences to CVD risk. CVD builds over a lifetime, with initiation and progression commencing during the pediatric years, strengthening the argument to focus on nutrition behavior and select food consumption during childhood. (Editors comments)



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