According to analysis of 2003-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, oily fish make up most of the 100 mg per day average EPA + DHA intake in the US, but this levels is significantly lower than the 200–250 mg per day for adults recommended by the World Health Organization or the 270 mg per day recommended by the National Institutes of Health.
In addition, the analysis showed that less than 8% of Americans are routinely using omega-3 supplements, despite their widespread availability.
“Consumption of n‐3 LCPUFA [omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids] remains low in the overall US population, with even lower n‐3 LCPUFA intake being more common in socioeconomically disadvantaged subpopulations and specific ethnicities, which may indicate the potential for augmenting health disparities,” wrote scientists from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Arizona, The Pennsylvania State University, and the University of California Riverside in Nutrients.
GOED: “We still have a lot more work to do”
Commenting on the study’s findings, Ellen Schutt, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), told NutraIngredients-USA: “This paper corroborates previous research showing differences in omega-3 intake by ethnicity, income and education levels, and underscores the importance of communicating to less-served populations about the importance of EPA and DHA for public health outcomes.
“The fact that the average intake of EPA and DHA in the US is still only 100 mg/day, and only 7% of those surveyed take supplements, shows GOED still has a lot more work to do in educating consumers and healthcare practitioners about the importance of these nutrients and having tools like this paper will help strengthen our arguments for increased outreach.”