Eating less healthy fish may contribute to America's stroke belt

December 22, 2010

People living in the "stroke belt" states eat more fried fish than people living in the rest of the country, which may contribute to the high rate of death from stroke in those states, according to a study published in the December 22, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Studies have shown that the in fish, especially fatty fish, may reduce the risk of stroke. Research has shown that frying fish leads to the loss of the natural fatty acids.

The study also found that African-Americans and people living in the stroke belt eat more fried fish than Caucasians and people living in the rest of the country. The stroke belt includes the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. People living in the stroke belt are more likely to die from a stroke than people living in other parts of the country.

"These differences in may be one of the potential reasons for the racial and geographic differences in stroke incidence and mortality," said study author Fadi Nahab of Emory University in Atlanta and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 21,675 people participating in the Reasons for Geographic And in Stroke (REGARDS) study, with an average age of 65. Of the participants, 21 percent were from the "stroke buckle," which is the coastal plain region of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia with stroke mortality rates even higher than in the rest of the stroke belt. Another 34 percent were from the rest of the stroke belt and 44 percent were from the other 40 contiguous states.

Participants were interviewed by phone and then given an in-home physical examination. They took a questionnaire asking how often they ate oysters, shellfish, tuna, fried fish and other fish not fried.

In the entire study, fewer than 1 in 4 participants consumed two or more servings of non-fried fish per week. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish at least two times per week with an emphasis on fatty fish. Those in the stroke buckle were 11 percent less likely to meet the recommendations than those in the rest of the country. Those in the rest of the stroke belt were 17 percent less likely than those in the rest of the country.

African-Americans were more than three-and-a-half times more likely to eat two or more servings of fried fish per week than Caucasians, with an overall average of 0.96 servings per week of fried fish for African-Americans compared to 0.47 servings for Caucasians.

Those in the stroke belt were 30 percent more likely to eat two or more servings of fried fish than those in the rest of the country. Those in the rest of the stroke buckle were 17 percent more likely to eat two or more servings of fried fish. Overall, those in the stroke belt ate an average of 0.68 servings per week, compared to 0.64 in the stroke buckle and 0.62 in the rest of the country. For non-fried fish, those in the stroke belt ate an average of 1.45 servings per week, compared to 1.52 servings in the buckle and 1.63 servings in the rest of the country.

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6 comments

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Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2010
There is also a marked reduction of the elememt Selenium in this same area, which may be a contributing factor.

Having said that, to much fried anything is long been linked to heart disease/stroke risk.

Still, there is nothing tastier than some fried catfish, cole slaw, mac 'n'cheese, bread and butter pickles, greens, grits, hushpuppies, and sweet tea. Just not every day. That's what fried chicken is for.

deatopmg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 22, 2010
Something is missing here. Selenium, as pointed out by Calaban, may be part of the equation. Also rancid cooking oil, likely inexpensive easily oxidized/epoxidized soybean, my be another.
irjsiq
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2010
3-6 oz. Salmon, microwaved for 77-88 seconds, Tartar Sauce (Sour Cream, Plain Yogurt, and Dill Relish) . . . a fine Breakfast!
How much Mercury is one ingesting?
How does one measure the Mercury content at home?

Roy J Stewart,
Phoenix AZ
CarolinaScotsman
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2010
Caliban, I admit fried cat fish is good but fried flounder is fantastic. Also, shrimp (fried in bacon grease) and grits with or without cheese. If you "ain't et southern, you ain't et".
Caliban
not rated yet Dec 23, 2010
Caliban, I admit fried cat fish is good but fried flounder is fantastic. Also, shrimp (fried in bacon grease) and grits with or without cheese. If you "ain't et southern, you ain't et".


With you on that.

It's been a while now, since the last time I was able to attend a low country boil and/or fish fry with the extended family way down in the ancestral heartland.

Hope to correct that deficiency in the near future.
In the meantime, Bon Apetit!

ironjustice
not rated yet Dec 23, 2010
I would say since African Americans have ALREADY been shown to have an increased stroke risk the 'finding' / conclusion of 'fried fish' being the CAUSE of the higher stroke risk South of the Mason Dixon line is simply because that's where the MAJORITY of African Americans live ?
"Not all of the reasons are clear why African Americans have an increased risk of stroke."

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