Consumption of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Is Associated with Improved Cardiometabolic Outcomes in Four African-Origin Populations Spanning the Epidemiologic Transition

Long-chain omega-3 PUFAs, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are of increasing interest because of their favorable effect on cardiometabolic risk. This study explores the association between omega 6 and 3 fatty acids intake and cardiometabolic risk in four African-origin populations spanning the epidemiological transition. Data are obtained from a cohort of 2500 adults aged 25–45 enrolled in the Modeling the Epidemiologic Transition Study (METS), from the US, Ghana, Jamaica, and the Seychelles. Dietary intake was measured using two 24 h recalls from the Nutrient Data System for Research (NDSR). The prevalence of cardiometabolic risk was analyzed by comparing the lowest and highest quartile of omega-3 (EPA+ DHA) consumption and by comparing participants who consumed a ratio of arachidonic acid (AA)/EPA + DHA ≤ 4:1 and >4:1. Data were analyzed using multiple variable logistic regression adjusted for age, gender, activity, calorie intake, alcohol intake, and smoking status. The lowest quartile of EPA + DHA intake is associated with cardiometabolic risk 2.16 (1.45, 3.2), inflammation 1.59 (1.17, 2.16), and obesity 2.06 (1.50, 2.82). Additionally, consuming an AA/EPA + DHA ratio of >4:1 is also associated with cardiometabolic risk 1.80 (1.24, 2.60), inflammation 1.47 (1.06, 2.03), and obesity 1.72 (1.25, 2.39). Our findings corroborate previous research supporting a beneficial role for monounsaturated fatty acids in reducing cardiometabolic risk.