Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in korean toddlers 12-24 months of age with comparison to the dietary recommendations

Youjin Kim, Hyesook Kim, Oran Kwon

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5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Adequate dietary fatty acid intake is important for toddlers between 12-24 months of age, as this is a period of dietary transition in conjunction with rapid growth and development; however, actual fatty acid intake during this period seldom has been explored. This study was conducted to assess the intake status of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids by toddlers during the 12-24-month period using 2010-2015 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Twenty-four-hour dietary recall data of 12-24-month-old toddlers (n = 544) was used to estimate the intakes of α-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3n-3), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3), linoleic acid (LA; 18:2n-6), and arachidonic acid (AA; 20:4n-6), as well as the major dietary sources of each. The results were compared with the expected intake for exclusively breastfed infants in the first 6 months of life and available dietary recommendations. RESULTS: Mean daily intakes of ALA, EPA, DHA, LA, and AA were 529.9, 22.4, 37.0, 3907.6, and 20.0 mg/day, respectively. Dietary intakes of these fatty acids fell below the expected intake for 0-5-month-old exclusively breastfed infants. In particular, DHA and AA intakes were 4 to 5 times lower. The dietary assessment indicated that the mean intake of essential fatty acids ALA and LA was below the European and the FAO/WHO dietary recommendations, particularly for DHA, which was approximately 30% and 14-16% lower, respectively. The key sources of the essential fatty acids, DHA, and AA were soy (28.2%), fish (97.3%), and animals (53.7%), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Considering the prevailing view of DHA and AA requirements on early brain development, there remains considerable room for improvement in their intakes in the diets of Korean toddlers. Further studies are warranted to explore how increasing dietary intakes of DHA and AA could benefit brain development during infancy and early childhood. Nutrition Research and Practice 2019;13(4):344-351;; pISSN 1976-1457 eISSN 2005-6168.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-351
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition Research and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Bio-synergy Research Project (NRF2012M3A9C4048761) and the Basic Science Research Program (NRF2016R1C1B1014641 to H Kim) funded by the Ministry of Science & ICT, Republic of Korea. This research was also supported by the Basic Science Research Program (2017R1A6A3A11034115 to YJ Kim) funded by the Ministry of Education, Republic of Korea. §Corresponding Author: Oran Kwon, Tel/Fax. 82-2-3277-6860, Email. Received: April 30, 2019, Revised: May 22, 2019, Accepted: July 5, 2019 This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Korean Nutrition Society and the Korean Society of Community Nutrition.


  • Arachidonic acid
  • Dietary intake assessment
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Infant and child nutrition


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