The issue in question: Why are Japanese men half as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than Americans?
Assistant professor of epidemiology Akira Sekikawa from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health conducted an experiment with 868 men aged between 40 and 49 – about 281 of the subjects were from Japan, 306 were Caucasian men from Pennsylvania and 281 were Japanese-American men living in Hawaii. Sekikawa took blood tests from the patients and measured the total number of fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Sekikawa also took various tests evaluating the arteries.
Dr Sekikawa’s team found that although total fatty acid levels were similar among all subjects, the percentage of fish-based omega-3 fatty acids was twice as high among Japanese men compared with Americans of both European and Japanese descent.
Japanese men had significantly less atherosclerosis, as indicated by lower average intima-media thickness and coronary artery calcification.
Among Japanese men, intima-media thickness values declined with rising omega-3 fatty acid levels, a phenomenon that was not observed in either American group.
For a more detailed account of what all that means you will have to read the article, but the gist of it is that the health of the Japanese is not related to genetics, it has to do with diet – particularly fish intake. Want to be more like the Japanese? The study recommends eating fish twice a week.
Fortunately for us in Hawaii, having access to fish isn’t a problem. Lucky we live Hawaii.