Fish Consumption, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Am J Prev Med. 2017 Jan;52(1):10-19. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.07.020. Epub 2016 Sep 16.


Introduction: Data on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in relation to cardiovascular disease are limited in women. The aim of this study was to examine longitudinal relations of tuna and dark fish, α-linolenic acid, and marine omega-3 fatty acid intake with incident major cardiovascular disease in women.

Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of U.S. women participating in the Women's Health Study from 1993 to 2014, during which the data were collected and analyzed. A total of 39,876 women who were aged ≥45 years and free of cardiovascular disease at baseline provided dietary data on food frequency questionnaires. Analyses used Cox proportional hazards models to evaluate the association between fish and energy-adjusted omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and the risk of major cardiovascular disease, defined as a composite outcome of myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death, in 38,392 women in the final analytic sample (96%).

Results: During 713,559 person years of follow-up, 1,941 cases of incident major cardiovascular disease were confirmed. Tuna and dark fish intake was not associated with the risk of incident major cardiovascular disease (p-trend >0.05). Neither α-linolenic acid nor marine omega-3 fatty acid intake was associated with major cardiovascular disease or with individual cardiovascular outcomes (all p-trend >0.05). There was no effect modification by age, BMI, or baseline history of hypertension.

Conclusions: In this cohort of women without history of cardiovascular disease, intakes of tuna and dark fish, α-linolenic acid, and marine omega-3 fatty acids were not associated with risk of major cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seafood / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tuna*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3