To determine the association between fatty acid intake and the prevalence of risk factors for the metabolic syndrome.
In this population-based cross-sectional study, a sample of 2750 Tehranian subjects (44% men and 56% women) aged 20-74 years, who completed a validated food frequency questionnaire, was studied. The metabolic syndrome (MetS) was defined in accordance with the modified guidelines of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adults Treatment Panel III, and waist circumference was coded according to the newly-introduced cut-off points for Iranian adults (≥95 cm for both sexes). Metabolic risk factors across quartile categories of each type of dietary fat [total fat intake, total poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake, total MUFA intake, total saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake expressed as percentage of energy and quartiles of the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat (P : S)] were compared.
The mean (SD) ages of participants were 40.8 (14.6) and 38.6 (12.9) years, respectively, for men and women. The mean contribution of fat to energy intake was approximately 26% in men and women. A positive trend over successive quartiles of SFA intake with low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglyceride, as well as P/S ratio intake with high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), was found. An inverse association between HDL-C with SFA and PUFA intake and a positive association with MUFA and the P/S ratio was found. A significant association of fatty acid consumption and risk of the MetS in this population was observed, except for total PUFA intake.
Special dietary fatty acids are associated with metabolic risk factors among the Iranian population. Because of the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and MetS, national nutrition policies must be developed accordingly for the modification of dietary fatty acid intake with respect to causation and prevention.