« September 2006 Table of Contents
NFI Forum: Let’s help consumers ‘Catch the Wave!’
By John Connelly
September 01, 2006
Good nutrition is an important issue to many Americans. The
most significant message our industry can send them during
National Seafood Month in October is that nutrient-dense,
fish-based meals can help them maintain a healthy
The proteins, vitamins and fatty acids found in fish and
shellfish are proven contributors to improved cardiovascular
and neurological health.
An area of great interest when it comes to the health
benefits of this protein is fish oils, especially omega-3 fatty
acids. Consumers appear to be getting the message about the
importance of omega-3s to their well-being.
The 2006 International Food Information Council's Foundation
Food & Health Survey found that 70 percent of Americans
view fish oils as "somewhat or extremely healthful," with
nearly 60 percent believing the same about omega-3 fatty acids
What's remarkable is not only how readily consumers can
identify these "good" fats, but how many people want to
increase their intake of omega-3s. About half of the 1,000
adults surveyed intend to consume more omega-3 fatty acids.
What better time than National Seafood Month to educate
consumers about incorporating more fish into their diet? The
National Fisheries Institute is working with its members to
help them communicate a variety of issues to their customers,
the public and the media.
The greatest resource we have is the NFI Web site,
www.AboutSeafood.com, which has a searchable database of
healthy recipes, nutrition information and a members-only
Seafood Month Tool Kit featuring new marketing and
Decades of research reveal a powerful connection between
seafood consumption and health, especially in relation to the
heart. A well-known, long-term study published in the Lancet
indicated that omega-3 fatty acids aid in reducing risk of
death from a heart attack.
Another study from a respected Greek university indicated
that men and women who regularly eat seafood show a lower risk
of heart disease due to a decrease in the
ted with the development of the
Myriad other studies have shown similar results and
highlight the numerous health benefits of regularly consuming
seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids.
We have posted summaries of these studies to our Web site so
that journalists and others may more easily understand some of
the complicated science behind the health benefits of fish.
It is essential that we continue to reinforce the idea that
fish is not only heart-healthy but important for proper brain
growth throughout the life cycle. It also shows promise in
areas like mental health and Alzheimer's disease.
An informed, educated and involved consumer will sustain the
seafood industry and its products well into the future.
Let's view National Seafood Month as an opportunity to
encourage Americans to "Catch the Wave!" and make informed meal
choices that include more fish.
John Connelly is president of the National Fisheries
Institute in McLean, Va., at www.nfi.org