Consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in former East and West Germany and changes in East Germany after the reunification

Respir Med. 1999 Mar;93(3):213-6. doi: 10.1016/s0954-6111(99)90011-2.


The dietary intake of Omega-3 (omega-3) and Omega-6 (omega-6) fatty acids (FA) may influence the development of atopic diseases. Based on the results of two dietary surveys, the intake of omega-3-FA and omega-6-FA in West Germany in 1985-1989 and in Dresden, East Germany in 1988-1989 and 1990-1991 was estimated. The intake of omega-6-FA but not of omega-3-FA was slightly higher in the West German population before 1990, mainly because of a higher intake of vegetable oil. Immediately after 1990 the omega-6-FA-intake in the observed East German sample increased because of an increase in the consumption of margarine [from a mean of 16 (SD 17) to 38 (24) g day-1]. Additional information indicates that, in contrast, East German infant formulas contained higher amounts of omega-6-FA (linoleic acid) and lower amounts of omega-3-FA (alpha-linolenic acid) than West German formulas. Whether there is a causal relation between the amounts of omega-6-FA and omega-3-FA consumed and the prevalence of atopy in children from East and West Germany remains to be clarified.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Germany, East
  • Germany, West
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated