Fish Consumption and Risk of Stroke: The Zutphen Study

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Background and Purpose

A low-to-moderate average daily fish consumption has been reported to convey protection against coronary heart disease incidence and mortality. Currently there is no information about its effect on stroke risk.


In 1960, 1965, and 1970 cross-check dietary histories were obtained in 552 men aged 50 to 69 years in 1970 in the town of Zutphen, The Netherlands. The association between fish consumption and stroke incidence in the period 1970 to 1985 was assessed by Cox proportional hazards models. Adjustments were made for confounding by age, systolic blood pressure, cigarette smoking, serum total cholesterol, energy intake, alcohol consumption, and prescribed diet.


The mean fish consumption in 1970 was 17.9 g/d. Men who consumed more than 20 g of fish per day in 1970 had a reduced risk of stroke compared with those who consumed less fish. The hazard ratio (HR) amounted to 0.49 (95% confidence interval [C1], 0.24 to 0.99), and did not change after adjustment for potential confounders. Fewer strokes occurred among the 301 men who always reported fish consumption between 1960 and 1970 than among the men who changed fish consumption habits between 1960 and 1970 or did not consume fish at all (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.34 to 1.16).


These results suggest that consumption of at least one portion of fish per week may be associated with a reduced stroke incidence. (Stroke. 1994;5 328-332.)

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