In previous studies, dietary and circulating fatty acids (FA) and desaturases activity (delta-5 desaturase [D5D], delta-6 desaturase [D6D], and stearoyl-CoA desaturase [SCD-16]) involved in their metabolism were associated with metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. The aim of the study was to assess the association between different FAs and desaturases activity (estimated as product:precursor ratios) with individual cardiovascular risk factors (in particular, anthropometric measurements and blood pressure [BP]) in children. The FA profile was determined on a whole-blood drop in 243 children (age: 8.6 +/- 0.72 years) participating in a school-based cross-sectional study. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) inversely correlated with indices of adiposity, glucose, and triglycerides. Palmitoleic acid and SCD-16 were directly associated with markers of adiposity and BP, even after adjustment for main confounders. D6D correlated directly with the waist/height ratio. Children with excess weight (>85th percentile; that is overweight plus obese ones) showed higher palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, and higher SCD-16 activity as compared to normal-weight children. Most of the associations were confirmed in the excess-weight group. Omega-3 FAs, particularly DHA, but not omega-6 FA, showed a potentially beneficial association with metabolic parameters, whereas palmitoleic acid and SCD-16 showed a potentially harmful association with indices of adiposity and BP, especially in obese children.
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