WASHINGTON, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Melissa d'Arabian – celebrity chef, TV host and busy mother of four – and Dr. William Castelli – renowned cardiovascular specialist and former Director of the Framingham Heart study – announced today the launch of Get Real About Seafood, an educational campaign to raise awareness about the heart and brain health benefits of seafood and provide resources to help people eat a seafood-rich diet. On average, Americans eat about half the recommended 2 to 3 seafood servings each week due to a lack of understanding about health benefits and lack of confidence in selecting or preparing seafood.[i]
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"Get Real About Seafood is an important initiative because it gives people tips on how to eat seafood more regularly to get significant health benefits," said Melissa d'Arabian. "Preparing seafood is easier than people might think. Convenient seafood options, such as canned or pouch tuna, are great sources of lean protein that people can use to make easy, delicious and filling meals."
The most recent seafood recommendations are outlined in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and are based on extensive scientific evidence. The DGA recommend everyone – including pregnant and breastfeeding women – eat 2 to 3 seafood meals (8-12 ounces) per week for the heart and brain health benefits. Studies have shown eating the recommended weekly amount of seafood can reduce the risk of fatal heart attack by 30 to 40 percent.[ii] Heart disease is the number one cause of death in men and women in the U.S. Additionally, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that mothers who don't eat enough seafood during pregnancy put their babies at increased risks for suboptimal brain development.
"In terms of eating a healthy diet rich in seafood, as Americans, we're way behind most countries. In fact, the North American diet has the second-lowest percentage of fish in the world. If we provide people the health facts about seafood and resources to answer questions, we could improve our overall health as a nation," said Dr. William Castelli. "If people talked to their doctors about eating more seafood, we could prevent most of the heart attacks in this country and improve overall brain health."
Taking Action to Eat More Seafood
A recent survey of family practice physicians revealed that the majority of physicians (85 percent) agree that eating seafood provides significant health benefits. Yet, most (61 percent) recommend incorrect amounts– based on the recommendations in the DGA – to their patients or do not provide a recommendation on seafood consumption. Those who do not speak with their patients about eating seafood cited conflicting information as a top concern (44 percent).[iii] To help facilitate a discussion between patients and their doctors, people can download a discussion guide at GetRealAboutSeafood.com. The discussion guide offers self-assessment tools and key questions for Americans to ask their doctors to help them eat a diet rich in seafood. Additionally, the website offers tools and tips to help people start eating more seafood. They can learn easy ways to prepare seafood using ingredients they already have in their pantries, such as canned or pouch tuna, and browse healthy and delicious seafood recipes.
GetRealAboutSeafood.com also provides valuable resources for healthcare professionals, including summaries of scientific studies about the health benefits of seafood and recent authoritative recommendations to aid in conversations with their patients.
About the National Fisheries Institute
For more than 60 years, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and its members have provided American families with the variety of sustainable seafood essential to a healthy diet. NFI is a non-profit organization comprised of a diverse membership of companies, and is dedicated to the education about seafood safety, sustainability and nutrition. For more information visit www.AboutSeafood.com.
[i] Vision Critical. Consumer Attitudes Towards Fish. November 2011.
[ii] Horn, L. V., PhD, RD., McCoin, M., MPH, RD., Kris-Etherton, P. M., PhD, RD., Burke, F., MS, RD.,Carson, J. A. S., PhD, RD., Champagne, C. M., PhD, RD., Sikand, G., MA, RD. (2008, February). The Evidence for Dietary Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(2).
[iii] Family Practice News. Family Practice News Seafood Survey. March 2012.
SOURCE National Fisheries Institute (NFI)