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Nutrition. 2011 Feb;27(2):153-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.11.019. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Dietary intake and food sources of fatty acids in Australian adolescents.

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Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, West Perth, Western Australia, Australia.



Dietary fat consumed during childhood and adolescence may be related to the development of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases in adulthood; however, there is a lack of information on specific fatty acid intakes and food sources in these populations. Our study aimed to assess fatty acid intakes in Australian adolescents, compare intakes with national guidelines, and identify major food sources of fatty acids.


Dietary intake was assessed using measured 3-d records in 822 adolescents aged 13-15 y participating in The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, Australia.


Mean daily total fat intakes were 90 ± 25 g for boys and 73 ± 20 g for girls, with saturated fat contributing 14% of total energy intake. Mean contribution to daily energy intake for linoleic, alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acids were 3.0%, 0.40%, 0.02%, 0.01%, and 0.04%, respectively, for boys, and 3.3%, 0.42%, 0.02%, 0.01%, and 0.05% for girls. To meet guidelines for chronic disease prevention, consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in this population may need to increase up to three-fold and the proportion of saturated fat decrease by one-third. Girls were more likely to achieve the guidelines. Major food sources were dairy products for total fat, saturated fat and alpha-linolenic acid, margarines for linoleic acid, and fish for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.


Results suggest that for this population, a higher dietary intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly for boys, and lower proportion of saturated fat is required to meet recommendations for prevention of chronic disease.

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