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Omega-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Intake by Ethnicity, Income, and Education Level in the United States: NHANES 2003-2014.

  • Author(s): Cave, Caleb
  • Hein, Nicholas
  • Smith, Lynette M
  • Anderson-Berry, Ann
  • Richter, Chesney K
  • Bisselou, Karl Stessy
  • Appiah, Adams Kusi
  • Kris-Etherton, Penny
  • Skulas-Ray, Ann C
  • Thompson, Maranda
  • Nordgren, Tara M
  • Hanson, Corrine
  • Thoene, Melissa
  • et al.
Abstract

Although there are many recognized health benefits for the consumption of omega-3 (n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), intake in the United States remains below recommended amounts. This analysis was designed to provide an updated assessment of fish and n-3 LCPUFA intake (eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and EPA+DHA) in the United States adult population, based on education, income, and race/ethnicity, using data from the 2003-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (n = 44,585). Over this survey period, participants with less education and lower income had significantly lower n-3 LCPUFA intakes and fish intakes (p < 0.001 for all between group comparisons). N-3 LCPUFA intake differed significantly according to ethnicity (p < 0.001), with the highest intake of n-3 LCPUFA and fish in individuals in the "Other" category (including Asian Americans). Supplement use increased EPA + DHA intake, but only 7.4% of individuals consistently took supplements. Overall, n-3 LCPUFA intake in this study population was low, but our findings indicate that individuals with lower educational attainment and income are at even higher risk of lower n-3 LCPUFA and fish intake.

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