Trends in Fatty Acid Intake of Adults in the Minneapolis-St Paul, MN Metropolitan Area, 1980-1982 through 2007-2009

Study Questions:

How has the trend in fatty acid intake between 1980 and 2009 compared to the recommendations in the 2010 American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans?


Twenty-four-hour dietary recalls were collected from 12,526 participants, ages 25-74, in the Minnesota Heart Survey. This survey has been issued every 3-5 years since 1980. Mean intake estimates were generated for each cross-sectional survey between 1980-1982 and 2007-2009. Mean fatty acid intake was compared to the recommendations put forth in the 2010 AHA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statements (20-35% of total energy intake).


Between 1980 and 2009, despite a rising body mass index (BMI), there was a decrease in the average intake estimates for total, saturated, and trans fat as a percentage of total energy intake for both men and women (p < 0.001 for all). Polyunsaturated fatty acid intake did not significantly decline between 1980 and 2009 as a percentage of energy intake for both men and women. Total daily energy intake remained relatively constant during the study period for men (0.2% decline, p = 0.87), yet increased for women (9.9% increase, p < 0.001). Total intake was still greater than the recommended levels for both trans and saturated fatty acids. Mean intake of omega-3 fatty acids were also below the AHA recommended levels without a clinically significant change.


The authors concluded that the declining intake of fatty acids is promising, but still not at the goal levels set forth in the 2010 AHA guidelines.


This study provides a cross-sectional estimate of national fatty acid consumption trends over the past 3 decades. While there is a glimmer of hope in the small decline of overall fat consumption, the rise in BMI indicates that much work is still needed. Recent studies have demonstrated that energy expenditure has dramatically declined over the past few decades. Continued efforts focused on both dietary changes and increased energy expenditure are necessary to achieve the Healthy People 2020 goals.

Clinical Topics: Dyslipidemia, Prevention, Lipid Metabolism, Nonstatins, Diet

Keywords: United States Department of Agriculture, Adult, Body Mass Index, Minnesota, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Fatty Acids, Energy Intake, American Heart Association, Energy Metabolism, Diet, Trans Fatty Acids

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