The associations of a marine diet with plasma lipids, blood glucose, blood pressure and obesity among the inuit in Greenland

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep;54(9):732-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601088.


Objective: To analyse the associations between the intake of fish and marine mammals and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, ie lipid profile, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure and obesity, in a population whose average consumption of n-3 fatty acids is high compared with Western countries.

Design: Information was obtained from a population survey in Greenland: interview data, clinical data and fasting blood samples were obtained from a random sample of Inuit from three towns and four villages.

Subjects: Two-hundred and fifty-nine adult Inuit (74% of the sample).

Results: Marine diet was positively associated with serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and blood glucose and inversely with very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and triglyceride. Association with low-density lipoprotein (LDL), diastolic and systolic blood pressure, waist-hip ratio and body mass index were inconsistent and not statistically significant. The pattern was similar within groups with low, medium and high consumption of marine food.

Conclusions: There are statistically significant associations between the consumption of marine food and certain lipid fractions in the blood also in this population with a very high average intake of marine food. The observation that blood glucose is positively associated with marine diet in a population survey is new and should be repeated. There was good agreement between the results for the reported consumption of seal and those for the biomarkers.

Sponsorship: The study was financially supported by the Greenland Home Rule, Directorate of Health and Research, the Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland, and the Danish Medical Research Council.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood
  • Female
  • Greenland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Inuits
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Seals, Earless


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Lipids