Purpose: ω3 and ω6 fatty acids (FA) may have divergent effects on the development of obesity. We examined the association of baseline erythrocyte ω3 and ω6 FA composition with body weight change and the risk of becoming overweight or obese in the Women’s Health Study (WHS) participants. Methods: We identified 534 women who had baseline erythrocyte FA measured and a baseline body mass index (BMI) of 18.5–<25 kg/m2. Body weight was updated at a total of six time points during follow-up. Results: Weight gain during a mean of 10.4-year follow-up increased with increasing quartiles of baseline erythrocyte cis ω6 FA, ω6/ω3 ratio, and trans FA while decreased with increasing cis ω3 FA. After multivariable adjustment including total energy intake and physical activity, the weight gain (kg) in the highest versus the lowest quartile was 3.08 versus 2.32 for erythrocyte cis ω6 FA (ptrend 0.04), 2.07 versus 2.92 for cis ω3 FA (ptrend 0.08), 2.93 versus 2.05 for ω6/ω3 ratio (ptrend 0.046), and 3.03 versus 2.27 for trans FA (ptrend 0.06). Among individual FA, the associations were significant for 18:2ω6, 18:3ω6, and trans 18:1 and marginally significant for 20:3ω6 and trans 18:2. The risk of becoming overweight or obese (defined as BMI ≥25 kg/m2 at any follow-up time point) increased across increasing ω6/ω3 ratio (multivariable model ptrend 0.04). Conclusions: In this prospective study, we found suggestive evidence that erythrocyte cis ω6 FA may be positively associated, and cis ω3 FA inversely associated with weight gain in initially normal-weight women.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are indebted to the 39,876 participants in the Women???s Health Study for their dedicated and conscientious collaboration, and to the entire staff of the Women???s Health Study for their assistance in designing and conducting the trial. This study was supported by a national scientist development grant funded by American Heart Association (0735390N) and research grants CA047988, HL043851, and HL080467 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Dr. Wang was supported by Grant HL095649 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes. These grants provided funding for study conduction, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript writing
- Fatty acids
- Prospective study
- Weight gain