Dietary fat intakes in Irish children - changes between 2005 and 2019

Aileen O'Connor, Maria Buffini, Anne Nugent, Laura Kehoe, Albert Flynn, Janette Walton, John Kearney, Breige McNulty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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OBJECTIVE: To examine current dietary fat intakes and compliance in Irish children and to examine changes in intakes from 2005 to 2019.

DESIGN: Analyses were based on data from the Irish National Children's Food Survey (NCFS) and the National Children's Food Survey II (NCFS II), two cross-sectional studies that collected detailed food and beverage intake data through 7-day and 4-day weighed food diaries, respectively.

SETTING: NCFS and NCFS II, Republic of Ireland.

SUBJECTS: A nationally representative sample of 594 (NCFS) and 600 (NCFS II) children aged 5 - 12 years. Current intakes from the NCFS II were compared with those previously reported in the NCFS (

RESULTS: Current intakes of total fat, saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and trans fat as a percentage of total energy (% TE) are 33.3, 14.0, 13.6, 5.6 and 0.5 %, respectively. Total fat, SFA and trans fat intakes since 2005 remained largely stable over time with all displaying minor decreases of <1 %. Adherence to SFA recommendations remain inadequate, with only 7 % of the population complying. Insufficient compliance with PUFA (71 %) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 16 %) recommendations was also noted.

CONCLUSION: Children in Ireland continue to meet the total fat and trans fat target goals. Adherence to MUFA and PUFA recommendations have also significantly improved. However, deviations for some fats remain, in particular SFA. These findings are useful for the development of dietary strategies to improve compliance with current recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Early online date26 Oct 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 26 Oct 2020


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