Nutr Res Pract.  2019 Aug;13(4):344-351. 10.4162/nrp.2019.13.4.344.

Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in Korean toddlers 12–24 months of age with comparison to the dietary recommendations

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, 52, Ewhayeodae-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03760, Korea. orank@ewha.ac.kr

Abstract

BACKGROUND
/OBJECTIVES: Adequate dietary fatty acid intake is important for toddlers between 12–24 months of age, as this is a period of dietary transition in conjunction with rapid growth and development; however, actual fatty acid intake during this period seldom has been explored. This study was conducted to assess the intake status of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids by toddlers during the 12–24-month period using 2010–2015 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Twenty-four-hour dietary recall data of 12–24-month-old toddlers (n = 544) was used to estimate the intakes of α-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3n-3), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3), linoleic acid (LA; 18:2n-6), and arachidonic acid (AA; 20:4n-6), as well as the major dietary sources of each. The results were compared with the expected intake for exclusively breastfed infants in the first 6 months of life and available dietary recommendations.
RESULTS
Mean daily intakes of ALA, EPA, DHA, LA, and AA were 529.9, 22.4, 37.0, 3907.6, and 20.0 mg/day, respectively. Dietary intakes of these fatty acids fell below the expected intake for 0–5-month-old exclusively breastfed infants. In particular, DHA and AA intakes were 4 to 5 times lower. The dietary assessment indicated that the mean intake of essential fatty acids ALA and LA was below the European and the FAO/WHO dietary recommendations, particularly for DHA, which was approximately 30% and 14–16% lower, respectively. The key sources of the essential fatty acids, DHA, and AA were soy (28.2%), fish (97.3%), and animals (53.7%), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS
Considering the prevailing view of DHA and AA requirements on early brain development, there remains considerable room for improvement in their intakes in the diets of Korean toddlers. Further studies are warranted to explore how increasing dietary intakes of DHA and AA could benefit brain development during infancy and early childhood.

Keyword

Dietary intake assessment; essential fatty acids; docosahexaenoic acid; arachidonic acid; Infant and child nutrition
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