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J Intern Med Suppl. 1989;731:47-51.

N-3 fatty acids and coronary heart disease: epidemiology from Eskimos to Western populations.

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Department of Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


The original cross-cultural comparisons between Greenland Eskimos and Danes and between Japan and Western countries suggested that a high fish intake was associated with low mortality rates from coronary heart disease. More comprehensive cross-cultural studies, e.g. the Seven Countries Study showed that the saturated fat content of the diet is more important than the amount of fish in explaining differences in coronary heart disease mortality between countries. Cohort studies carried out in cultures with a low level of fish consumption showed that persons who eat fish once or twice a week had lower mortality rates from coronary heart disease than persons who did not eat fish. The results of the epidemiological studies carried out so far suggest that a diet low in saturated fat in combination with a low level of fish consumption may be of importance for coronary heart disease prevention.

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