BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Eating a Southern staple, fried fish, could be one reason people in Alabama and across the "stroke belt" states are more likely than other Americans to die of a stroke, according to a study published in the December 22, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
In the stroke belt states Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee the risk of dying from stroke is higher than in other parts of the country. In Alabama, the stroke death rate is 125 per every 100,000 people, against a national average of just 98 per 100,000.
The study was part of the long-running REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke) trial, led by George Howard, Dr. PH, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. REGARDS enrolled 21,675 people over the age of 45 between January 2003 and October 2007, and continues to follow them for health events.
Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially fatty fish, may reduce the risk of stroke, but other research has shown that frying fish leads to the loss of the natural fatty acids, the AAN said in a press release.
The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish at least twice a week, with an emphasis on fatty fish. In the entire study, fewer than 1 in 4 participants consumed two or more servings of non-fried fish per week; people in the stroke buckle were 17 percent less likely to meet the recommendations than those in the rest of the country, the AAN said.
Moreover, the study showed that people 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.
"These differences in fish consumption may be one of the potential reasons for the racial and geographic differences in stroke incidence and mortality," Fadi Nahab, M.D., of Emory University, a
|Contact: Bob Shepard|
University of Alabama at Birmingham