Association of dietary omega-3 fatty acids with prevalence of metabolic syndrome: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study

Y. H Lana Lai, Andrew B. Petrone, James S. Pankow, Donna K. Arnett, Kari E. North, R. Curtis Ellison, Steven Hunt, Luc Djoussé

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Background & aims: Metabolic syndrome (MetS), characterized by abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance is a major public health concern in the United States. Omega-3 fatty acids have been relatively well studied in relation to many individual cardiovascular risk factors; however, their effects on MetS are not well established. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study consisting of 4941 participants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study to assess the relation of dietary omega-3 fatty acids with the prevalence of MetS. Omega-3 intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire and we used generalized estimating equations to estimate adjusted odds ratios for prevalent MetS. Results: Our study population had a mean age (SD) of 52.1 (13.9) years and 45.9% were men. The mean (SD) of dietary omega-3 fatty acids was 0.25g/day (0.27). From the lowest to the highest quintile of dietary omega-3 fatty acids, multivariable adjusted ORs (95% CI) for MetS were 1.00 (ref), 0.90 (0.72-1.13), 1.03 (0.82-1.28), 0.94 (0.74-1.18), and 0.99 (0.77-1.25), respectively. In a secondary analysis, neither fish consumption nor dietary alpha-linolenic acid was associated with MetS. Conclusions: Our findings do not support an association between dietary omega-3 fatty acids and MetS in a large US population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-969
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Dietary alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Fish
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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