Systematic Review on N-3 and N-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake in European Countries in Light of the Current Recommendations - Focus on Specific Population Groups

Isabelle Sioen, Lilou van Lieshout*, Ans Eilander, Mathilde Fleith, Szimonetta Lohner, Aliz Szommer, Catarina Petisca, Simone Eussen, Stewart Forsyth, Philip C. Calder, Cristina Campoy, Ronald P. Mensink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Background: Earlier reviews indicated that in many countries adults, children and adolescents consume on an average less polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) than recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation. Summary: The intake of total and individual n-3 and n-6 PUFAs in European infants, children, adolescents, elderly and pregnant/lactating women was evaluated systematically. Results: The evaluations were done against recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority. Key Messages: Fifty-three studies from 17 different European countries reported an intake of total n-3 and n-6 PUFAs and/or individual n-3 or n-6 PUFAs in at least one of the specific population groups: 10 in pregnant women, 4 in lactating women, 3 in infants 6-12 months, 6 in children 1-3 years, 11 in children 4-9 years, 8 in adolescents 10-18 years and 11 in elderly >65 years. Mean linoleic acid intake was within the recommendation (4 energy percentage [E%]) in 52% of the countries, with inadequate intakes more likely in lactating women, adolescents and elderly. Mean alpha-linolenic acid intake was within the recommendation (0.5 E%) in 77% of the countries. In 26% of the countries, mean eicosapentaenoic acid and/or docosahexaenoic acid intake was as recommended. These results indicate that intake of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs may be suboptimal in specific population groups in Europe. (C) 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid
  • N-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid
  • Dietary intake
  • Dietary recommendations
  • 1ST YEAR

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