Food and Behaviour Research

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Usual dietary fatty acid intakes and red-blood-cell membrane fatty acid composition in Inuit children attending child-care centres in Nunavik, northern Québec, Canada.

Blanchet R, Lauzière J, Gagné D, Vézina C, Ayotte P, O'Brien HT (2014) Public Health Nutr.  17(12) 2844-52 

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To assess dietary fatty acid intakes and to examine the relationship between dietary sources of n-3 and n-6 PUFA and red-blood-cell (RBC) n-3 and n-6 PUFA composition.


A cross-sectional study. Dietary intakes were assessed with a 24 h dietary recall. A second recall was performed for 44 % of the children. Usual dietary intakes were estimated with the Software for Intake Distribution Estimation (SIDE). The fatty acid composition was measured in RBC membranes. Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to explain RBC n-3 and n-6 PUFA concentrations.


Child-care centres in Nunavik, northern Québec, Canada.


One hundred and sixty-seven Inuit children aged 11-53 months.


A high proportion of the participants had inadequate n-3 and n-6 PUFA intakes (47·9 % and 93·5 %, respectively). Breast-feeding status and consumption of traditional food during the first 24 h dietary recall were significantly associated with RBC n-3 PUFA levels. Older children also tended to have higher RBC n-3 PUFA levels (P = 0·0528), whereas sex, infant formula status and n-3 PUFA dietary intakes were not associated with RBC n-3 PUFA concentrations. RBC n-6 PUFA concentrations were positively associated with breast-feeding status and n-6 PUFA dietary intakes, whereas age, sex and infant formula status were not.


The present findings highlight the fact that Inuit pre-school children are not consuming enough n-3 and n-6 PUFA for optimum health. These observations call for actions to increase traditional food intake among Inuit children and to help them and their parents make healthier store-bought food choices.