Impact of Nonoptimal Intakes of Saturated, Polyunsaturated, and Trans Fat on Global Burdens of Coronary Heart Disease

J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Jan 20;5(1):e002891. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002891.


Background: Saturated fat (SFA), ω-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), and trans fat (TFA) influence risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but attributable CHD mortalities by country, age, sex, and time are unclear.

Methods and results: National intakes of SFA, n-6 PUFA, and TFA were estimated using a Bayesian hierarchical model based on country-specific dietary surveys; food availability data; and, for TFA, industry reports on fats/oils and packaged foods. Etiologic effects of dietary fats on CHD mortality were derived from meta-analyses of prospective cohorts and CHD mortality rates from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases study. Absolute and proportional attributable CHD mortality were computed using a comparative risk assessment framework. In 2010, nonoptimal intakes of n-6 PUFA, SFA, and TFA were estimated to result in 711 800 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 680 700-745 000), 250 900 (95% UI 236 900-265 800), and 537 200 (95% UI 517 600-557 000) CHD deaths per year worldwide, accounting for 10.3% (95% UI 9.9%-10.6%), 3.6%, (95% UI 3.5%-3.6%) and 7.7% (95% UI 7.6%-7.9%) of global CHD mortality. Tropical oil-consuming countries were estimated to have the highest proportional n-6 PUFA- and SFA-attributable CHD mortality, whereas Egypt, Pakistan, and Canada were estimated to have the highest proportional TFA-attributable CHD mortality. From 1990 to 2010 globally, the estimated proportional CHD mortality decreased by 9% for insufficient n-6 PUFA and by 21% for higher SFA, whereas it increased by 4% for higher TFA, with the latter driven by increases in low- and middle-income countries.

Conclusions: Nonoptimal intakes of n-6 PUFA, TFA, and SFA each contribute to significant estimated CHD mortality, with important heterogeneity across countries that informs nation-specific clinical, public health, and policy priorities.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease; dietary fat; saturated fat; trans fat; ω‐6 polyunsaturated fat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Markov Chains
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Protective Factors
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors
  • Trans Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Trans Fatty Acids