Background: The Omega-3 Index (O3I; erythrocyte EPA+DHA as a percent of total fatty acids) is inversely related to risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The cardioprotective target O3I is 8%-12%. O3I levels in American regions with high CVD risk are poorly characterized.
Purpose: To determine the O3I in individuals participating in a Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) survey in seven US cities in the CVD "belt."
Methods: Fingerstick blood samples were analyzed for the O3I.
Results: The SNP cohort (n = 2177) had a mean (SD) O3I of 4.42% (1.12%). Only 1.2% were in the desirable range, whereas 42% had an undesirable (<4%) O3I. The mean (SD) O3I in a subset of 772 SNP subjects who were matched for age and sex with the Framingham study was 4.6% (1.2%) compared 5.3% (1.6%) in the Framingham cohort (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Individuals in the CVD "belt" had relatively low O3I levels. Since in other settings, a low O3I is associated with increased risk for CVD, this may be one factor contributing to the higher risk for CVD in this region of the US.
Keywords: Abbreviations: CVD, Cardiovascular disease; CHD, Coronary heart disease; Community survey; DHA, Docosahexaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; EPA, Eicosapentaenoic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; FHS, Framingham heart study; Fish; Fish oil; HDLab, Health diagnostic laboratory; O3I, Omega-3 index; Omega-3 index; SNP, Seafood nutrition partnership.
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