It remains controversial whether the intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish is preventive against asthma. This cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between fat and fish intake and the prevalence of asthma using baseline data from a prospective study.
The subjects were 1002 pregnant Japanese females. A diet history questionnaire was used to assess dietary habits. Current asthma and asthma after age 18 were defined as present if subjects had been treated with medications at some time in the previous 12 months and after reaching the age of 18, respectively.
Fish consumption was independently associated with a decreased prevalence of asthma after age 18 and current asthma. A significant inverse relationship was observed between the ratio of n-3 to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and the prevalence of current asthma, but not asthma after age 18. Intake of total fat, saturated, monounsaturated, n-3 polyunsaturated and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, meat, eggs or dairy products was not evidently related to either outcome for asthma.
Our results suggest that fish consumption and the high ratio of n-3 to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake may be associated with a reduced prevalence of asthma in young female Japanese adults.