Guest Blog: Healthy heart education campaign crucial for Americans
GOED is pleased to include a guest blog from Linda Cornish, Executive Director of Seafood Nutrition Partnership, a GOED member with similar goals to increase seafood (and therefore omega-3) consumption in the U.S. Read on for details on an innovative messaging program Seafood Nutrition Partnership has developed.
Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP), a national non-profit and affiliate member of GOED, has as its one of its goals helping women at risk of heart disease eat the recommended amount of seafood and take in adequate amounts of omega-3s. To that end, SNP piloted a grassroots public health education campaign in 2014 in Indianapolis IN and Memphis TN, and generated three million earned media impressions with an investment of $50,000 per city.
The behavior change methodology utilized in the pilots shows promise in educating consumers about the importance of seafood and omega-3s for heart health, and included free screenings for Omega-3 Index and demonstrations to teach participants how to incorporate seafood into their diets at least twice a week and/or supplement with omega-3 capsules. Using the methodology of this particular test, a healthy Omega-3 Index is 8% or more of omega-3s EPA and DHA in the blood. Per a NEJM study, the relative risk for sudden cardiac death is reduced by 90% when a person has 8% omega-3 level as compared to a 2% level. SNP randomly screened about 500 people from both cities and found that about 75% of the people screened had omega-3 levels of approximately 2-3%. People under 45 years old had lower omega-3 levels than those 45 years and older. This knowledge of baseline omega-3 levels has motivated SNP participants to eat more seafood and take omega-3 supplements.
The education campaign includes a nutrition program developed in collaboration with Brigham & Women’s Hospital that has shown that behavior change is possible. In its pilot Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program, low-income women participated in a four-week program and continued to eat seafood twice a week and take omega-3 supplements for three months after the program. In the program conducted for the Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, 90% of the women increased their Omega-3 Index after four months from the start of the program.
From the success of its pilots, SNP is launching a three year public health campaign in October 2015, National Seafood Month, and will continue to work with Indianapolis and Memphis, along with six additional cities with a high incidence of heart disease: Birmingham, AL; Charleston, WV; Jacksonville, FL; Lexington, KY; Oklahoma City, OK; and Toledo, OH. The grassroots education campaign will coincide with national media messaging.
SNP is raising $15 million to fund this three year campaign and to date has raised $6.5 million to date mainly from the seafood industry. Please contact SNP to help support in this campaign.
About the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Seafood Nutrition Partnership is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit whose mission is to inspire a healthier America through partnerships that raise awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood. Through its education efforts, the organization aims to help Americans gain the skills to select, order, and prepare fish and shellfish, and to inspire a healthier America by promoting a nutrient-rich diet that includes seafood. SNP is a member of the NCD Roundtable and GOED. For more information visit: http://www.seafoodnutrition.org