Fatty acid composition of serum cholesterol esters as a reflector of low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet in young children: the STRIP project


P Salo, Cardiorespiratory Research Unit, University of Turku, Kiinamyllynkatu 10, 20520 Turku, Finland (Tel. +358 2 33371, fax. +358 2 2331 126)


STRIP (the Special Turku coronary Risk factor Intervention Project) is an ongoing intervention trial which aims at a permanent reduction in the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol starting in childhood. A total of 75 intervention and 63 control children was studied consecutively at the ages of 7 and 13 mo, and 2, 3 and 5 y to evaluate the influence of such intervention on serum cholesterol ester (CE) fatty acid composition, a widely used biomarker of fatty acid intake. Analysis of 4-d food records showed that total intake of fat and of saturated fat increased with age in both groups of children but was constantly lower in intervention than in control children, e.g. at the age of 5 y the mean intakes of total fat and of saturated fatty acids were 31.1 E% and 33.9 E% and 12.1 E% and 14.6E% in intervention and control children, respectively (p = 0.009 and 0.0001, respectively). Serum CE fatty acid compositions did not differ between the 2 groups at any age; the mean proportion of CE linoleic acid was 52.4% and 52.0% in 5-y-old intervention and control children, respectively. Correlation analysis showed, however, that the percentage of linoleic acid and of polyunsaturated fatty acids in CE reflected well the respective dietary intakes (r= 0.36; p = 0.0001 for both coefficients).

In conclusion, CE fatty acid composition did not differ between the intervention and control groups, whereas CE linoleic and total polyunsaturated fatty acids reflected well the differences in their intakes at the individual level.