1.4 million CHD deaths globally attributable to low omega-3 intakes

This is the second chart in my goal to create 52 visualizations on important omega-3 topics. Last week I used an infographic to tell the story of how EPA and DHA intakes vary from country-to-country. Since this is the first week of Heart Health month, I decided to use another infographic format to deliver one simple clear statistic around the impact of omega-3s and heart disease. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) manages a database of statistics on the global burden of diseases and estimates that 1.4 million coronary heart disease deaths in 2010 were attributable to low intakes of EPA and DHA.

The number of deaths IHME attributes to low EPA and DHA intakes has increased nearly 40% in the past 20 years, which is alarming. Their analysis relies primarily on large, prospective cohort studies that have found significant associations between EPA/DHA intakes below 250mg/day and an increased risk of coronary death. Mortality is one way they looked at the data, but they also estimated the number of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost to this increased mortality. This is a measure of lost economic potential due to deaths that would have otherwise been preventable, and they found that more than 28 million years of productivity were lost as a result of cardiac deaths attributable to low EPA and DHA intakes.