Age and time trends in fish consumption pattern of children and adolescents, and consequences for the intake of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

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Background/Objectives:There is a lack of detailed data on fish consumption in European children and adolescents. We therefore investigated fish consumption patterns, portion sizes and estimated intakes of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid).Subjects/Methods:From the Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed study between 1985 and 2006, yearly 3-day weighed dietary records (N=7152) from 1024 subjects (2-18 years, 49% males) were evaluated.Results:On 14% of total recorded days fish consumption from 33 different species was documented. In the total sample (in the subgroup with fish intake), mean fish intake almost doubled from 5 to 14 g per day (from 15 to 37 g per day) within the age range. Mean portions of fish increased from 40 to 89 g per portion, predominantly from low-fat fish species. In the total sample mean long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA intake increased with age from 42 to 141mg per day (100-324mg per day in the subgroup with fish intake). Without any fish consumption in the recording period, n-3 LC PUFA intake ranged below 20mg per day. Within the 20-year time frame, the frequency of fish consumption increased significantly (P<0.0282) from 35% at the start in 1985 to 40% in 2005.Conclusions:Fish consumption—even with low intakes as observed here—improves LC n-3 PUFA considerably. Owing to the very low preference for high-fat fish in our sample, the potential of fish intake as an LC n-3 PUFA source was not considered.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) 63, 1071-1075; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.40; published online 17 June 2009

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