European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Institute for Nutrition Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences
National Health and Medical Research Council
NHMRC Numbers : 1136046, 003209, 353514, 211912, 403981, 1021105
Population-based studies show that the intake of omega-3 (n-3) and omega-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are associated with a range of health conditions. Therefore, the reliability of food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) as rapid and easily accessible screening tools for PUFA intake deserve investigation.
We aimed to assess the relationship between erythrocyte fatty acids and fatty acid intake collected using the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) food frequency questionnaire in an adolescent cohort.
A cross-sectional study using data from 1155 young adolescents participating in the 14-year follow-up of the Raine Study. Bland–Altman plots were used to determine the agreement between dietary intake and erythrocyte levels of each fatty acid.
The main dietary source of n-3 long-chain (LC) PUFA was ‘fresh fish’ (53% of total n-3 LC-PUFA). Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) showed the strongest correlation between erythrocyte and diet assessment (r = 0.274; p < 0.001), whilst linoleic acid (LA) (r = 0.103; p < 0.001) and arachidonic acid (AA) (r = − 0.06; p = 0.042) showed weaker correlations, with limits of agreement relatively narrow. Bland–Altman plots showed a dose-dependent bias between the FFQ fatty acid data and corresponding erythrocyte data.
For the major n-3 and n-6 PUFA, dietary intakes derived from the FFQ showed weaker correlations and poorer agreement with erythrocyte levels, and the deviation between the two increased with higher intake levels.
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