Heterogeneity of associations between total and types of fish intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes: Federated meta-analysis of 28 prospective studies including 956,122 participants

Silvia Pastorino*, Tom Bishop, Stephen J. Sharp, Matthew Pearce, Tasnime Akbaraly, Natalia B. Barbieri, Maira Bes-rastrollo, Joline W. J. Beulens, Zhengming Chen, Huaidong Du, Bruce B. Duncan, Atsushi Goto, Tommi Härkänen, Maryam Hashemian, Daan Kromhout, Ritva Järvinen, Mika Kivimaki, Paul Knekt, Xu Lin, Eiliv LundDianna J. Magliano, Reza Malekzadeh, Miguel Ángel Martínez-gonzález, Gráinne O’donoghue, Donal O’gorman, Hossein Poustchi, Charlotta Rylander, Norie Sawada, Jonathan E. Shaw, Maria Schmidt, Sabita S. Soedamah-muthu, Liang Sun, Wanqing Wen, Alicja Wolk, Xiao-ou Shu, Wei Zheng, Nicholas J. Wareham, Nita G. Forouhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The association between fish consumption and new-onset type 2 diabetes is inconsistent and differs according to geographical location. We examined the association between the total and types of fish consumption and type 2 diabetes using individual participant data from 28 prospective cohort studies from the Americas (6), Europe (15), the Western Pacific (6), and the Eastern Mediterranean (1) comprising 956,122 participants and 48,084 cases of incident type 2 diabetes. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for associations of total fish, shellfish, fatty, lean, fried, freshwater, and saltwater fish intake and type 2 diabetes were derived for each study, adjusting for a consistent set of confounders and combined across studies using random-effects meta-analysis. We stratified all analyses by sex due to observed interaction (p = 0.002) on the association between fish and type 2 diabetes. In women, for each 100 g/week higher intake the IRRs (95% CIs) of type 2 diabetes were 1.02 (1.01–1.03, I2 = 61%) for total fish, 1.04 (1.01–1.07, I2 = 46%) for fatty fish, and 1.02 (1.00–1.04, I2 = 33%) for lean fish. In men, all associations were null. In women, we observed variation by geographical location: IRRs for total fish were 1.03 (1.02–1.04, I2 = 0%) in the Americas and null in other regions. In conclusion, we found evidence of a neutral association between total fish intake and type 2 diabetes in men, but there was a modest positive association among women with heterogeneity across studies, which was partly explained by geographical location and types of fish intake. Future research should investigate the role of cooking methods, accompanying foods and environmental pollutants, but meanwhile, existing dietary regional, national, or international guidelines should continue to guide fish consumption within overall healthy dietary patterns
Original languageEnglish
Article number1223
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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  • fish
  • prospective studies
  • type 2 diabetes


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