Association between obesity and omega-3 status in healthy young women

Isabel E. Young, Helen M. Parker, Rebecca L. Cook, Nicholas J. O’dwyer, Manohar L. Garg, Kate S. Steinbeck, Hoi Lun Cheng, Cheyne Donges, Janet L. Franklin, Helen T. O’connor

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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are essential for healthy development and protect against metabolic disease. However, individuals with obesity may be pre-disposed to experiencing lower n-3 PUFA status than normal-weight individuals. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between the omega-3 index (O3I), body mass index (BMI) and dietary intake in healthy young women (n = 300; age = 18–35 y), a group not previously focused on. Intake was adjusted for energy using the residuals method, and associations were explored using independent t-tests and Pearson’s correlations. Participants with obesity were found to have significantly lower O3I than normal-weight participants (p < 0.0001); however, no significant differences were observed in mean n-3 PUFA intakes. Even so, energy-adjusted intakes of n-3 PUFAs, with the exception of alpha-linolenic acid, were significantly correlated with O3I. This study demonstrates that O3I is influenced by both BMI and diet in young women; however the relationship between these two variables may be complex. Current intakes of n-3 PUFA observed in young women may not be effective in achieving target O3I levels in those with obesity, and further research is needed to find effective ways of improving n-3 PUFA status in a group already at increased risk of metabolic disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1480
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020

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    Young, I. E., Parker, H. M., Cook, R. L., O’dwyer, N. J., Garg, M. L., Steinbeck, K. S., Cheng, H. L., Donges, C., Franklin, J. L., & O’connor, H. T. (2020). Association between obesity and omega-3 status in healthy young women. Nutrients, 12(5), 1-10. [1480].