Survey of vitamin D, Omega-3 and Cholesterol Status of South Asian Canadians and White Canadians Living in Ottawa

Health Canada is looking for volunteers for a study to obtain data on blood levels of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and bio-markers of cardiovascular health of South Asian Canadians and White Canadians living in Ottawa.

To qualify for this study you must be a South Asian Canadian (Canadians of Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani and Sri Lankan descent) or a White Canadian (Caucasian, Canadians of European descent) and must be between 20 and 79 years of age. If you are selected for the study you will need to fill out a dietary questionnaire and make 2 outpatient visits (each lasting 30 min) to a blood clinic in a community centre in Ottawa during a week-end in late winter and late summer in 2012. At the clinic, a small sample of fasting blood will be withdrawn for analysis of blood levels of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and cholesterol. In addition your weight, height and skin colour will be measured.

After the study is completed, the volunteers will be provided their results for vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and cholesterol.

If you are interested in volunteering or have questions about the study, please contact:

Dr. Nimal Ratnayake,
Nutrition Research Division, Health Canada
251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway, Ottawa
Tel. 613-954-1396
e-mail: nimal.ratnayake@hc-sc.gc.ca

Project Summary

Assessment of vitamin D and omega-3 status and the blood lipid risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in South Asian- and White-Canadians living in Ottawa

Investigator: Nimal Ratnayake, Ph.D. Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Summary: Canadians of South Asian descent make up one of the largest non-Europeans groups in Canada. These Canadians are considered to be a vulnerable group, because they have more risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension than the general population in Canada. The high risk of the South Asian Canadians is most likely due to their genetic predisposition, Their eating habits and other environment factors are suspected to be enhance their susceptibility. Low blood levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are known contributory factors for cardiovascular diseases. This study determines the baseline vitamin D status, omega-3 status, blood lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides), blood glucose and c-reactive protein of men and women (age 20-79 years) of South Asian descent living in Ottawa at two time periods; end of Winter 2012and end of Summer 2012. In addition, their skin colour, intakes of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids will also be determined through a set of survey questionnaire. The same parameters will be determined in a representative sample of age/gender matched White Canadians living in Ottawa. The data will be assessed to determine 1) whether the vitamin D and omega-3 status meet the concentrations recommended by professional bodies; 2) whether vitamin D status of South Asian Canadians are at lower levels compared to that of White Canadians, 3) whether the blood levels of vitamin D are correlated to skin color, intakes of vitamin D and period of the year and 4) whether the blood levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids would independently and/or in combination contribute to blood lipid risk factors of coronary heart disease among South Asian Canadians.

This study would provide baseline blood values of vitamin D and omega-3 status and the dietary intake levels of those nutrients amongst South Asian and White Canadians. The results would be useful to Health Canada to make informed decisions on dietary requirements, dietary recommendations and food fortification polices on vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. It would address the question whether specific recommendations should be tailored to distinguish population groups.

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