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Dietary fat intake and quality of life: the SUN project

Cristina Ruano1, Patricia Henriquez1, Maira Bes-Rastrollo2, Miguel Ruiz-Canela2, Cristina López del Burgo2 and Almudena Sánchez-Villegas12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences. University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

2 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Spain

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:121  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-121

Published: 2 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Few studies have related nutritional factors with quality of life in healthy populations. The purpose of the study was to assess whether dietary fat intake is associated to mental and physical quality of life.

Methods

This analysis included 8,430 participants from the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project. The intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), trans unsaturated fatty acids (TFA), and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) was assessed through a 136-item food frequency questionnaire at baseline. Quality of life was measured with the SF-36 Health Survey after 4 years of follow-up. Generalized Linear Models were fitted to assess the regression coefficients (b) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for the 8 domains of the SF-36 according to successive quintiles of each kind of fatty acids intake.

Results

The multivariate-adjusted models revealed a significant inverse association for SFA intake (in quintiles) and two of the physical domains (physical functioning and general health). E.g. for general health domain: (highest quintile of intake (Q5) vs. lowest quintile (Q1), b = -1.6; 95% CI = -3.1, -0.1. General health also showed a dose-response relationship (p for trend < 0.05). For TFA intake (in quintiles), a significant inverse association was found for most of the mental domains (vitality, social functioning and role emotional). E.g. for vitality domain (Q5) vs. (Q1), b = -2.0, 95% CI = -3.4 to -0.6. We also found an inverse association between TFA intake and the bodily pain domain: (Q5 vs. Q1), b = -2.6; 95% CI = -4.4 to -0.8, with a statistically significant dose-response relationship (p for trend < 0.05). Except for TFA intake and the mental domains, the rest of the associations were attenuated when we repeated the analysis adjusting for adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

Conclusions

A detrimental relationship between TFA intake at baseline and most of the SF-36 mental domains measured 4 years later were found, whereas weak inverse associations were found for SFA intake and some physical domains.

Keywords:
Dynamic cohort; Fatty acids intake; SF-36 Health Survey; Mental quality of life; Physical quality of life