Promoting and Popularising the Adoption of Omega-3 Supplementation in Hong Kong

Impact: Social impacts

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Description of impact

In 2015, Dr. Annis Fung (Principal Investigator), expert in reactive and proactive aggression, started a global neurobiological collaborative project on the adjunct intervention by consuming daily omega-3 supplements with three co-investigators, including Professor Adrian Raine, Neuro-criminologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Yu Gao, Associate Professor at the City University of New York, and Professor Tatia Lee Mei Chun, Clinical Neuroscientist at the University of Hong Kong.

The result of the global project was compelling demonstrating that omega-3 supplements adjunct intervention could reduce reactive and proactive aggression not only amongst high-risk youths but also general children. Consuming omega-3 would enhance brain structure and function, including boosting synaptic functioning, reducing cell death, and regulating neurotransmitter functioning and expression. In a word, the omega-3 supplementation could remove the brain dysfunction that predisposes one to aggression.

Currently, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Correctional Service Department (CSD) are both in further discussion with Dr. Annis Fung about the possibility of adoption of omega-3 supplementation.

For the Hong Kong Police Force, the adoption of the daily omega-3 supplements treatment would assist the guardians of the juveniles in the Police Superintendent’s Discretion Scheme (PSDS) in reducing the aggressive behaviour and impulsivity of their children. Thus, lower their rate of recommitment and prevent those from perpetrating severe crimes in their later adulthood stage.

For the Correction Service Department (CSD), the advocacy of daily consumption of omega-3 is an effective way of helping inmates to reduce their aggressive behaviour and thus lowering the relapse rate and the recidivism. Also, since it is a dietary treatment instead of a medication, it minimises the labelling effect as well as food safety has been guaranteed.

Furthermore, in the regular training invited by Social Welfare Department (SWD) and Education Bureau (EDB), she advises social workers and educators could suggest omega-3 supplementation not only for reducing students’ aggression and bullying behaviour but also improving the level of attention, memory, and academic performances among primary and secondary schoolchildren.

It is believable that omega-3 supplementation is a cost-effective way to reduce long-term burdens in society. It may be considerably easier to help parents with aggressive children through this natural and non-labelling way of treatment. Even those parents without high education with very limited time to spend with their children could handle and manage the Omega-3 supplementation. Moreover, teachers and social workers could save lots of time, resources and lessen stress in helping and counselling those students with aggressive behaviour daily in schools. This study could yield enormous long-term financial benefits in terms of the saved legal, medical, social, and psychological costs resulting from the long-term consequences of adolescent behaviour problems. The reduction in externalising behaviours do not have to be large to have a significant long-term impact. Although omega-3 intervention could only reduce aggressive behaviour in youth in school by 5%, in turn, reduces adult crime and violence by 1%. The impact of the adjunct intervention would be enormous across-the-board financial savings to the society.

Category of impact

  • Social impacts