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Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98(4):819-25. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

n-6 and n-3 PUFA intakes of pre-school children in Flanders, Belgium.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, UZ-2 Blok A, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. Isabelle.Sioen@UGent.be


In this study, the intake of n-6 and n-3 PUFA of pre-school children in Flanders, Belgium, was evaluated, and recommendations to address the very low intake of long-chain PUFA are presented. Food consumption data (based on parentally reported 3 d dietary records obtained from October 2002 to February 2003) of 661 children (338 boys, 323 girls) between 2.5 and 6.5 years of age and the PUFA concentrations obtained from various food composition databases were used. The actual PUFA intake levels were compared to Belgian, European and American recommendations. Only the intake of linoleic acid (LA) fell within the recommended ranges. Margarine, bread, biscuits and chocolate products contributed most to LA intake. The intake of alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) was low compared to the recommendations and was obtained mostly from the consumption of margarines and fatty sauces. This resulted in a high LA/LNA ratio. The intake of all long-chain PUFA was far below the recommended levels. Meat and meat products were the most important sources of arachidonic acid. Consumption of fish and other seafood was very low, though these were the most important sources of long-chain n-3 PUFA. In conclusion, Flemish pre-school children should consume more n-3-rich products in order to increase their LNA intake and decrease their LA/LNA ratio. Furthermore, the replacement of meat products rich in SFA by poultry would increase the arachidonic acid intake. As well, fatty fish consumption needs to be increased, as it is a rich source of long-chain n-3 PUFA.

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