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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión On-line ISSN 1699-5198versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


ORTEGA ANTA, Rosa M. et al. Food sources and adequacy of intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a representative sample of Spanish adults. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2013, vol.28, n.6, pp.2236-2245. ISSN 1699-5198.

Introduction and aims: Taking into account the sanitary importance of the contribution of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and given the scarcity of studies on the subject in Spanish collectives, the aims of the present study were to determine the intake of these fatty acids, their adequacy to the established nutritional goals and food sources in a representative sample of the Spanish population. Methods: A group of 1,068 adults (521 men and 547 women) with ages ranging from 17 and 60 years were studied. The subjects were selected from ten Spanish provinces to constitute a representative sample of the nationwide population. The intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), omega-3 fatty acids, α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid, expressed in g/day and percentage of the total energy intake, were determined by using a food record for 3 consecutive days, including a Sunday. Personal, anthropometric and sanitary data of individuals were also studied. Results and Discussion: The intake of total fat and saturated fat was higher than the established as advisable in 89.2% and 93.3% of the studied subjects, respectively. The opposite was observed for the intake of PUFA, where an insufficient contribution was most frequent (79.2% of the subjects have an intake less than the 6% of the energy). The contribution of omega-3 fatty acids (1.85±0.82 g/day) is particularly low, and provides less than 1% of the energy in 85.3% of subjects. Specifically the ALA (1.40±0.55 g/day) did not exceed the 0.5% of energy in 53.7% of the cases, and the EPA + DHA (0.55±0.58 g/day) did not exceed 0.5 g/day in 64.6%. On the other hand, the contribution of omega-6 was more appropriate (10.95 ± 3.79 g/day), specifically for LA intake (10.77 ± 3.76 g/day), representing less than 3% of the energy in the 25.5% of subjects. The main food sources for omega-3 were fish, followed by meat, dairy and fats/oils, whereas for omega-6 were fats/oils, meat and cereals. Taking into account that the low consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is noteworthy in the studied group, especially for EPA + DHA, the influence of the fish consumption is important, since people who consume less than 0.5 servings/day (29.8%) have intakes of omega-3 (1.46 ± 0.57 g/day) and EPA + DHA (0.19 ± 0.19 g/day) significantly lower than individuals with a higher consumption of fish (which have intakes of omega-3 and EPA + DHA of 2.02 ± 0.85 g/day and 0.70 ± 0.61 g/day, respectively) (p < 0.001). The increase in fish consumption facilitates meeting the nutritional goals set for omega-3 (> 1% of energy) (OR 0.371, 95% CI 0.3060.451, p < 0.001) and for EPA + DHA (> 0.5 g/day) (OR 0.121, 95% CI 0.092-0.158, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Due to the high percentage of individuals who do not meet the nutritional goals set for omega-3, ALA, EPA and DHA, it would be advisable to increase the consumption of fish and/or foods enriched with these fatty acids in order to obtain nutritional and health benefits.

Palabras clave : Omega-3 fatty acids; Omega-6 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Adults.

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