British Journal of Nutrition

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British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 103:923-928 Cambridge University Press
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Workshop Report

Dietary intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in children – a workshop report

Berthold Koletzkoa1 c1, Ricardo Uauya2a3, Andreu Paloua4a5, Frans Koka6, Gerard Hornstraa7, Ans Eilandera8, Diego Morettia8, Saskia Osendarpa8, Peter Zocka8 and Sheila Innisa9

a1 Division of Metabolic Diseases and Nutrition, Dr von Hauner Children's Hospital, University of Munich Medical Centre, Lindwurmstrasse 4, D-80337 Munich, Germany
a2 Public Health Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
a3 Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
a4 Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
a5 CIBER Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CB06/03) (Instituto de Salud Carlos III), Palma de Mallorca, Spain
a6 Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
a7 Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
a8 Unilever Food and Health Research Institute, Unilever R&D, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands
a9 Department of Paediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Article author query
koletzko b [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
uauy r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
palou a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
kok f [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
hornstra g [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
eilander a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
moretti d [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
osendarp s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
zock p [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
innis s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


There is controversy whether children should have a dietary supply of preformed long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The aims of the workshop were to review evidence for a possible benefit of a preformed EPA and/or DHA supply, of data required to set desirable intakes for children aged 2–12 years, and of research priorities. The authors concluded that EPA and DHA intakes per kg body weight may often be low in 2- to 12-year-old children, relative to intakes per kg body weight of breast-fed infants and adult intakes, but reliable data are scarce. Little information is available that increasing dietary intakes of EPA or DHA in children has benefits to physical or mental function or other health endpoints. Studies addressing EPA and DHA intakes and tissue status among groups of children with different dietary habits, and measures of relevant development and health endpoints, are needed for developing potential advice on desirable intakes of EPA and/or DHA in children. At this time it appears prudent to advise that dietary intakes in childhood are consistent with future eating patterns supporting adult health, such as prevention of metabolic disorders and CVD, supporting immune function, and reproductive health. In conclusion, the available information relating dietary EPA and DHA intakes in children aged 2–12 years to growth, development and health is insufficient to derive dietary intake recommendations for EPA and DHA. Adequately designed studies addressing dietary intakes, measures of status and relevant functional or health effects across this age group are needed.

(Received June 10 2009)

(Revised August 04 2009)

(Accepted August 05 2009)

(Online publication February 26 2010)

Key Words:EPA; DHA; n-3 Long-chain PUFA; Reference nutrient values; RDA


c1 Corresponding author: Professor Berthold Koletzko, fax +49 89 5160 7742, email