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Inadequate daily intakes of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the general French population of children (3–10 years) and adolescents (11–17 years): the INCA2 survey



This paper deals with the dietary daily intakes of main polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in French children and adolescents.


Dietary intakes of main PUFA were determined from a general French population of 1500 children (3–10 years) and adolescents (11–17 years) by using the most recent set of national robust data on food (National Survey INCA 2 performed in 2006 and 2007).


Main results showed that mean daily intakes of total fat and n-6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) were close to current recommended values for children and adolescent populations. However, 80% (children) to 90% (adolescents) of our French populations not only ingested low quantities of n-3 long-chain PUFA (docosahexaenoic (22:6n-3) and eicosapentaenoic (20:5n-3) acids) but also very low quantities of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3) at the origin of a non-balanced n-6/n-3 ratio. Inadequate consumption of EPA + DHA was also observed in subgroups of infants and adolescent who consumed more than two servings/week of fish.


Such disequilibrium in PUFA dietary intakes in favor of n-6 PUFA could have adverse impact on cell membrane incorporation of long-chain n-3 PUFA and deleterious impacts on the health of children and adolescents. Promoting the consumption of both vegetable oils and margarines rich in ALA, and oily fish rich in long-chain n-3 PUFA might improve such PUFA disequilibrium.

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Correspondence to Philippe Guesnet.

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Conflict of interest

JT and SP reported grants from Terres Univia during the conduct of the study. BB, PG, and NS have no conflicts of interest to declare. The authors thank Eric Guesnet for reviewing English.

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Guesnet, P., Tressou, J., Buaud, B. et al. Inadequate daily intakes of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the general French population of children (3–10 years) and adolescents (11–17 years): the INCA2 survey. Eur J Nutr 58, 895–903 (2019).

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  • Dietary intake
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • France