Changes in dietary intake and food sources of saturated and cis and trans unsaturated fatty acids in Costa Rican adolescents: 1996 versus 2006
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OBJECTIVE: To identify how dietary intake and food sources of saturated (SFA) and cis (PUFA) and trans (TFA) unsaturated fatty acids in the diet of Costa Rican adolescents changed from 1996 to 2006--a period with several public health nutrition changes. METHODS: Cross-sectional comparisons used data from measured food records of 133 adolescents (ages 12-17 y) surveyed in 1996 and a similar group of adolescents surveyed in 2006. Values obtained in 1996 and 2006 were compared with the current World Health Organization guidelines for chronic disease prevention. RESULTS: Adolescents surveyed in 2006 reported a significantly higher mean daily energy intake from linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (0.9% and 7.8%, respectively) compared with the 1996 cohort, whereas SFA and TFA were significantly lower (9.5% and 1.3%, respectively). Food sources of fat also changed. In 2006, 2% of SFA in the diet came from palm shortening (compared with 34% in 1996); 39% of TFA came from ruminant-derived foods (in 1996, soybean oil was the main contributor of TFA, 34%), and bakery products (mainly pre-packaged cookies) provided 25% of the source of TFA, compared with only 11% in 1996. Dietary fatty intake of Costa Rican adolescents in 2006 is closer to WHO guidelines compared with 1996. CONCLUSIONS: After public health initiatives that changed fatty acid profile of most foods, intakes of TFA, SFA, and food sources of fatty acids in adolescents' diets improved. Public health nutrition efforts should continue to strengthen diets that are low in SFA and TFA and higher in ALA content among Costa Rican adolescents.
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