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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep;54(9):732-7.

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

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National Institute of Public Health, Copenhagen, Denmark.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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