This study aimed to estimate intake of individual polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), identify major dietary sources of PUFAs and estimate the proportion of individuals consuming fish among US children 12-60 months of age, by age and race and ethnicity. The study employed a cross-sectional design using US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. Representative sample of US population based on selected counties.
Subjects: 2496 US children aged 12-60 months. Mean daily intake of n-6 PUFAs and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) varied by age, with children 12-24 months of age having lower average intakes (mg or g day(-1) ) than children 49-60 months of age and the lowest n6 : n3 ratio, upon adjustment for energy intake. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake was low (20 mg day(-1) ) compared to typical infant intake and did not change with age. Compared to non-Hispanic white children, Mexican American children had higher DHA and arachidonic acid (AA) intake. In the previous 30 days, 53.7% of children ever consumed fish. Non-Hispanic black children were more likely than non-Hispanic white children to have consumed fish (64.0% vs. 53.0%). Results indicate low prevalence of fish intake and key n-3 PUFAs, relative to n-6 fatty acids, which suggests room for improvement in the diets of US children. More research is needed to determine how increasing dietary intakes of n-3 PUFAs like DHA could benefit child health.
Keywords: children; fish; polyunsaturated fatty acids; race.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.