Relationship between dietary intake and erythrocyte PUFA in adolescents from a Western Australian cohort

Fuzhen Wan, Feng Pan, Trevor A. Mori, Therese A. O'Sullivan, Lawrence J. Beilin, Wendy H. Oddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background 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. Objective 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. Design 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. Results 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. Conclusions 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date7 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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