CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. Researchers at the Northwestern University Medical School have just released the results of a 30-year study which shows that eating fish regularly protects against the risk of dying from a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
The study involved 1822 men aged 40 to 55 years at the start of the study in 1957. During the 30-year follow-up 1042 men died, 293 of them from a heart attack. Sixty-eight per cent of the study participants were blue-collar workers, 58 per cent were smokers, and 85 per cent drank alcohol. After adjusting for all other variables known to affect the risk of heart disease and heart attack in particular, the researchers found that men who consumed about one kg (two lbs) of fish per month had a 40 per cent lower rate of death from heart attacks than did men who did not eat fish. Men who ate only 500 g (one lb) of fish per month also had a significantly lower risk of a fatal heart attack. The difference in mortality was almost exclusively due to the much lower rate of non-sudden death from heart attack amongst the high fish consumers. The researchers found no significant relationship between fish consumption and death from other cardiovascular causes; they did, however, confirm that cholesterol level, cigarette smoking, dietary cholesterol intake, and age were all independently related to the risk of incurring a fatal heart attack.
Daviglus, Martha L., et al. Fish consumption and the 30-year risk of fatal myocardial infarction. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 336, April 10, 1997, pp. 1046-53