Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fish in pregnancy help kids

Mothers who relish seafood and fish during their pregnancy have children who are smarter and have better developmental skills than kids of women who hate even the smell of it. According to the new findings by US and British scientists, published in The Lancet, children of mothers who consumed fish and seafood several times a week during their pregnancy were more likely to score higher in mental and social ability tests. Seafood is considered to be the predominant source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for optimum neural development. One major concentrated source of omega-3 is oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. During the study, 11,875 pregnant women were assessed at 32 weeks’ gestation and based on their diet during pregnancy their children’s mental and social development up from age 6 months to 8 years was observed. It was found that children of mothers who ate small amounts of seafood were more likely to have sub-optimum neuro-developmental outcomes than children of mothers who ate more seafood.Low seafood intake by moms was also associated with increased risk of sub-optimum outcomes for prosocial behaviour, fine motor and social development scores. The study indicates that mothers who consumed less than 340 g a week have more likelihood of having children who would be in the bottom 25 per cent of verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) at age of 8, and have sub-optimum performance on developmental and social behaviour tests. This was in comparison to children whose mothers ate more than 340 g of seafood a week. According to doctors, low seafood/fish intake during pregnancy could lead to fetal deficiency in essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid, effecting the neuro-development of foetus.


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