Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology
Objectives : Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acid (n-3 FA) and fish consumption may reduce the risk of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in older adults. We previously reported that MetS components are prevalent among college students. Identifying modifiable risk factors of developing MetS and its components in young adults will inform potential targets to reduce the risk of age-related health conditions. Our objectives were to measure the cross-sectional impacts of n-3 FA and fish consumption on ≥ 2 or ≥ 3 MetS criteria and individual criteria among college students.
Methods : The College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey is an on-going cross-sectional study at a public New England college. We examined data from Jan 2008 – May 2017. After excluding those with missing data our final sample size was n= 4271 for n-3 FA & n= 2072 for fish intake analyses. Diet was assessed by a 3 day food record; MetS criteria were collected in fasted state. We expressed n-3 FAs as g /1000 kcals/d. Servings of fish/week was obtained via an online survey. Individuals were categorized as consuming ≥ 2 servings/week or not. MetS was defined as meeting ≥ 3 criteria: elevated glucose, triglycerides, blood pressure, waist circumference, and low HDL. Analyses were conducted by logistic regression.
Results : The average n-3 FA intake was 0.4g /1000 kcal/d ± 0.25 & 40% consumed ≥ 2 servings of fish/week. Prevalence estimates for meeting ≥ 2 criteria was 18.8% and 4.8% for MetS. In sex- and energy- adjusted models, n-3 FA consumption was inversely associated with MetS (OR=0.38; 95%CI: 0.20, 0.71) and ≥ 2 MetS criteria (OR=0.67; 95%CI: 0.49, 0.91). Associations were no longer significant after considering additional confounders. Fish consumption was not significantly associated with MetS or ≥ 2 criteria in any model. Further n-3 FAs and fish consumption was not associated with any individual MetS criteria.
In this cross-sectional study among college students, n-3 FA and fish consumption were not significantly associated with MetS outcomes. Further research is needed in this population using longitudinal study designs to understand long-term impact of n-3 consumption on the development of MetS and associated cardio metabolic risk factors in young adults.
Funding Sources :
New Hampshire Agriculture Experiment Station and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project 1010738