European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 1707–1716 | Cite as

Intake of fish and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and incidence of metabolic syndrome among American young adults: a 25-year follow-up study

  • Yong-Seok Kim
  • Pengcheng Xun
  • Carlos Iribarren
  • Linda Van Horn
  • Lyn Steffen
  • Martha L. Daviglus
  • David Siscovick
  • Kiang Liu
  • Ka HeEmail author
Original Contribution



Studies suggest that long-chain ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCω3PUFA) intake and its primary food source—fish—may have beneficial effects on the individual components of metabolic syndrome (MetS). We examined the longitudinal association between fish or LCω3PUFA intake and MetS incidence.


We prospectively followed 4356 American young adults, free from MetS and diabetes at baseline, for incident MetS and its components in relation to fish and LCω3PUFA intake. MetS was defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program/Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. Cox proportional hazards model was used for analyses, controlling for socio-demographic, behavioral, and dietary factors.


During the 25-year follow-up, a total of 1069 incident cases of MetS were identified. LCω3PUFA intake was inversely associated with the incidence of MetS in a dose–response manner. The multivariable adjusted hazards ratio (HR) [95 % confidence interval (CI)] of incident MetS was 0.54 (95 % CI 0.44, 0.67; P for linear trend < 0.01) as compared the highest to the lowest quintile of LCω3PUFA intake. A threshold inverse association was found between non-fried fish consumption and the incidence of MetS. The multivariable adjusted HRs (95 % CIs) from the lowest to the highest quintile were 1.00, 0.70 (0.51, 0.95), 0.68 (0.52, 0.91), 0.67 (0.53, 0.86), and 0.71 (0.56, 0.89) (P for linear trend = 0.49). The observed inverse associations were independent of the status of baseline individual components of MetS.


Our findings suggest that intakes of LCω3PUFAs and non-fried fish in young adulthood are inversely associated with the incidence of MetS later in life.


Longitudinal studies Omega-3 fatty acids Fish consumption Metabolic syndrome 



This study was partially supported by Grants from the NIH (R01HL081572 and R01ES021735). The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA) is supported by contracts HHSN268201300025C, HHSN268201300026C, HHSN268201300027C, HSN268201300028C, HHSN268201300029C, and HHSN268200900041C from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and an intra-agency agreement between NIA and NHLBI (AG0005). Dr. Kim Yong-Seok was supported by the Dongguk University Research Fund. The authors thank Dr. Janne Boone-Heinonen for her helpful comments. The authors also thank the other investigators and the staff of the CARDIA Study for valuable contributions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors had a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

394_2015_989_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong-Seok Kim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pengcheng Xun
    • 1
  • Carlos Iribarren
    • 3
  • Linda Van Horn
    • 4
  • Lyn Steffen
    • 5
  • Martha L. Daviglus
    • 6
  • David Siscovick
    • 7
  • Kiang Liu
    • 4
  • Ka He
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health-BloomingtonIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Graduate SchoolDongguk University-SeoulSeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Kaiser Permanente Division of ResearchOaklandUSA
  4. 4.Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.Institute for Minority Health Research, Department of MedicineUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.New York Academy of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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