In Ghana, stunting rates in children below 5 years of age vary regionally. Dietary fatty acids (FAs) are crucial for linear growth. The objective of this study was to determine the association between blood FAs and growth parameters in southern Ghanaian children 2–6 years of age. A drop of blood was collected on an antioxidant treated card and analyzed for FA composition. Weight and height were measured and z-scores calculated. Relationships between FAs and growth were analyzed by linear regressions and factor analysis. Of the 209 subjects, 22% were stunted and 10.6% were essential FA deficient (triene/tetraene ratio > 0.02). Essential FA did not differ between stunted and non-stunted children and was not associated with height-for-age z-score or weight-for-age z-score. Similarly, no relationships between other blood fatty acids and growth parameters were observed in this population. However, when blood fatty acid levels in these children were compared to previously reported values from northern Ghana, the analysis showed that blood omega-3 FA levels were significantly higher and omega-6 FA levels lower in the southern Ghanaian children (p < 0.001). Fish and seafood consumption in this southern cohort was high and could account for the lower stunting rates observed in these children compared to other regions.
- Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA)
- Omega-3 index
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics