Project 1.2 YOUNG

Health of young European families and fish consumption

Major achievements in 2007

The project includes a multi centre intervention study with 320 subjects distributed over the participating centres in Iceland, Ireland and Spain. Central data analysis is being performed in Portugal. The focus of this study is on effects of fish consumption in overweight Europeans on risk of the metabolic syndrome and on bone health. The work included the development of experimental diets to be used in the intervention study and the development and validation (in three countries) of a food frequency questionnaire. This tool is required for the assessment of compliance to the experimental diets. The staffs in the centres in Iceland, Spain and Ireland were trained. The detailed protocol for the intervention study was developed and the intervention started in October 2004, after approval of protocols by national Medical Ethical Committees and recruitment of subjects. For the study salmon from aquaculture was obtained from Nutreco and Atlantic cod was bought in Iceland. The experimental part of the study has been successfully completed. The data management center has been installed and data analysis is in progress as well as the drafting/submitting of papers. The results of the study indicate that fish consumption helps overweight young people to lose weight while protecting lean body mass. The effect is associated with improvement of the blood lipid profile and insulin and glucose levels. Ongoing are highly interesting final analysis and writing papers about effects from fish lipids vs. fish proteins on loosing of body weight, improvement of glucose tolerance, blood lipid profile and markers of bone metabolism. The method to measure seafood intake (food frequency questionnaire) has been developed and a manuscript is prepared. Several Master students who worked in this project have already finished their studies. The total work provided high-quality scientific information, which has been partly published/accepted in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


In addition to the MCT, an epidemiological study is performed in Denmark on the effect of fish consumption on the health of mothers and children in the world largest birth cohort. Intake of seafood in this study and its effects on self reported symptoms of post-partum depression has been studied. The first analysis indicates some protective effect, but further detailed analysis, taking into account confounding variables, has to be performed before conclusions can be drawn. Additional information on confounding variables, e.g. education and income of women in the cohort and use of anti-depressive drugs, was being obtained from sources outside the existing database of the cohort study. Final papers and reports are now in progress.