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To study the relationship between lipid, fatty acid and lipid-rich food intake and current asthma in a group of Spanish schoolchildren.The subjects of this cross-sectional study were 638 Spanish schoolchildren (8–13 years of age). The weight and height of all the subjects were recorded. A questionnaire, completed by the subjects' parents, was used to obtain personal and health information. Current asthma was established when the children had ever had asthma, if they had been diagnosed with asthma by a doctor and if they had been treated with medications at some time in the previous 12 months. Food intake was monitored using a 3-day food record. All foods consumed were converted into energy and nutrients.The energy derived from lipids, saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and myristic and palmitic acids was independently associated with current asthma (Odds Ratio (OR) third tertile 2.85 (1.01–8.07) P=0.049, 10.00 (0.89–111.97) P=0.002, 11.21 (1.36–92.24) P=0.002, 7.58 (1.40–41.03) P=0.022, respectively), as was the intake of butter (OR third tertile 2.97 (1.01–8.68) P=0.001). No relationship was seen between this condition and the intake of any other fatty acid, the n-6/n-3 ratio, nor the consumption of margarine, milk products, fish, meat, eggs or vegetable oils.Increased intakes of SFAs, myristic and palmitic acids and butter seem to be related to the risk of current asthma in children.