Public Health Nutrition

Assessment and methodology

n-3 Fatty acid intake from marine food products among Quebecers: comparison to worldwide recommendations

Michel Lucasa1a2 c1, Geneviève Asselina1, Mélanie Plourdea3, Stephen C Cunnanea3, Éric Dewaillya2a4 and Sylvie Dodina1a5

a1 Lucie and André Chagnon Chair for the Teaching of an Integrated Approach in Prevention, Laval University, Saint-François d’Assise Hospital (CHUQ), Québec, QC, Canada

a2 Axe Santé des populations et environnement, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval (CHUL-CHUQ), 2875 Laurier Blvd, Delta Building #2 – Office 600, Québec, Québec (QC) G1V 2M2, Canada

a3 Research Centre on Aging, Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

a4 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Sainte-Foy, QC, Canada

a5 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Laval University, Québec, QC, Canada


Objective To quantify marine food product consumption and EPA + DHA intake among Quebecers, and to compare the results with the most recent recommendations.

Design Data were obtained from a representative cross-sectional telephone survey (June 2006). Intakes of marine food product species and EPA + DHA were estimated from a validated FFQ on the consumption of marine food products during the previous month. Prevalence of fish oil consumption in the last 6 months was also assessed.

Setting Province of Quebec (Canada).

Subjects A representative sample (n 1001) of adults in the province of Quebec. Of these, eight were excluded from the present analysis (n 993).

Results Mean and median EPA + DHA intakes for all participants were estimated to be 291 mg/d (sem 11) and 207 mg/d, respectively. 85·0 % (95 % CI 82·7, 87·3) of Quebecers had an EPA + DHA intake lower than 500 mg/d, which is the amount internationally recommended for the prevention of CVD. Mean and median DHA intakes among women of childbearing age (n 128, 18–34 years) were estimated to be 169 mg/d (sem 17) and 126 mg/d, respectively. Of these women, 27·7 % had a daily intake >200 mg DHA and 15·9 % had an intake >300 mg DHA. We noted that 13 % of Quebecers take ≥1 capsule of fish oil/d.

Conclusions Consumption of marine food products and EPA + DHA among Quebecers clearly appears to be lower than international recommendations. Since EPA + DHA confer health benefits and may reduce health costs, strategies to increase their consumption should be implemented to improve public health in Quebec.

(Received July 25 2008)

(Accepted March 31 2009)

(Online publication May 12 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Email