To document dietary intakes and food sources of fatty acids among older Australians.
Population-based survivor cohort.
Two postcode areas in the Blue Mountains, West of Sydney, Australia.
In 1997-9, 2334 people aged 55 years and over, participated in a 5-year follow-up of the cohort attending the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES). Dietary data were collected using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire by 2005 persons (86% of those examined). Types of fats were classified as saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), polyunsaturated (PUFA) and trans unsaturated fatty acids.
Mean total fat intake contributed 31.3% of daily energy intake (12.2% SFA, 11.2% MUFA, 5.0% PUFA). Mean omega 3 (n-3) PUFA intake comprised 0.5% of energy intake (long chain n-3 PUFA provided mean intake of 260mg, consisting of eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosapentaenoic (DPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids) and the n-6: n-3 PUFA ratio was 9:1. The main fatty acids contributing to the diet were palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid. Meat products were the highest contributors to total fat and MUFA intakes; milk products were the highest contributor to SFA intakes; and fat spreads and oils, and breads and cereals were the main food groups contributing to PUFA intakes. Fish was the main source of long chain n-3 fatty acids.
This population-based descriptive study documents fatty acid intakes in a population of older Australians. It will serve as a basis for investigations of associations between dietary fatty acid intakes and a number of eye diseases.