Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency takes 96,000 Lives Annually in the US

    DARTMOUTH, NS, June 25 /CNW/ - (Ocean Nutrition Canada) - A new study
from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found Omega-3
deficient diets cause up to 96,000 preventable deaths annually in the United
States (US).
    "The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk
Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors" study published
in the April 2009 issue of PLoS Medicine estimated the number of deaths
resulting from 12 different modifiable and preventable causes to determine how
many deaths were attributable to these factors.
    Of the 12 dietary, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors examined in the
study, Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency ranked as the sixth highest killer of
Americans, responsible for a whopping 72,000 to 96,000 preventable deaths
yearly. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency even beat out high trans fat intake,
which is responsible for an estimated 63,000 to 97,000 deaths annually.
    "The numbers are shocking, especially given that these deaths are
preventable with Omega-3 EPA/DHA supplementation," said Ocean Nutrition
Canada's Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Lori Covert. "We know
that daily doses of Omega-3 EPA/DHA can help with many conditions, such as
cardiovascular disease, and we're committed to increasing consumer awareness
about the drastic Omega-3 EPA/DHA deficiency in the Western diet. However,
this new study validates that Omega-3 EPA/DHA is more than just part of a
healthy's a matter of life and death."
    Researchers retrieved data on exposures to the 12 selected risk factors
from US national health surveys, and obtained information on deaths from
different diseases for 2005 from the US National Health Center for Health
Statistics. They also used previously published studies to estimate how much
each risk factor increased the risk of death from each disease, and applied a
mathematical model to estimate the number of deaths related to each risk
    Tobacco smoking ranked as the highest risk factor with 436,000 to 500,000
attributed preventable deaths, followed by high blood pressure (372,000 to
414,000), obesity (188,000 to 237,000), physical inactivity (164,000 to
222,000) and high salt intake (97,000-107,000).
    Studies such as this are becoming increasingly important in the US and
around the world as healthcare costs skyrocket. Policymakers use these studies
to determine leading causes of mortality among populations, and then to
develop and implement public health policies and legislation to help reduce
exposure and to prevent death from certain risk factors.

    About Omega-3:

    Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA), consisting of EPA
(eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic
acid). Oily fish (such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and salmon) are the
only known natural sources of Omega-3 EPA/DHA. ALA is found in plants, such as
flax and chia. It is important to note that only EPA and DHA contribute to the
many health benefits associated with Omega-3. While the body can convert ALA
into EPA/DHA, it does so very inefficiently (less than one percent), making it
impossible to derive Omega-3-related health benefits from plant-sourced ALA.
Furthermore, although Omega-3 EPA/DHA is vital to overall good health, the
human body is not able to produce it on its own, so supplementation is
required, either by eating oily fish or foods fortified with Omega-3 EPA/DHA,
or by taking fish oil supplements. Learn more about the health benefits of
Omega-3 EPA/DHA at

    About Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited (ONC):

    Ocean Nutrition Canada (ONC) is a privately held company, whose major
shareholder is Clearwater Fine Foods Incorporated. Clearwater Fine Foods
Incorporated is a diversified holding/investment company whose significant
holdings include a controlling interest in Clearwater Seafood's Limited
Partnership, the world's largest integrated shellfish harvester and processor.
    ONC is a global leading supplier of Omega-3 EPA and DHA ingredients from
fish oil...essential nutrients that have been scientifically linked to
supporting heart health, brain health, and general wellness. ONC markets its
MEG-3(R) ingredients into the Dietary Supplement and Healthy Food markets. To
date MEG-3(R) ingredients have been included in over 40 billion servings of
food and supplement products world wide. For more information on Ocean
Nutrition Canada Limited visit, and for more
information on the health benefits of Omega-3 EPA/DHA please visit

For further information:

For further information: Joanna Lane, Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., (902)

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