Research Summary by Sonja Connor, MS, RDN, LD

The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important throughout the lifespan (children – eye and brain development; pregnancy – decreased maternal depression, reduced rates of preterm birth; early life – reduced allergies and asthma and improved neurocognitive outcomes; adults – protective against heart disease and high blood pressure).  To assess for differences across the lifespan and genders, fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake was measured using the 2003-2014 NHANES data (n=45,347).  The mean seafood intake across the lifespan (6.5 servings/month) was lower than recommended (8.7 servings/month) as was the omega-3 fatty acid intake.  Children and adolescents had lower seafood and omega-3 fatty acid intakes than adults and seniors.  Women had lower omega-3 fatty acid intake and consumed less seafood than men.  Pregnant women did not consume more seafood than non-pregnant women.  The consistent low intake of seafood and omega-3 fatty acids could increase the risk for adverse outcomes, particularly in young children and pregnant women.  Nutrients 2019, 11,177;doi:10.3390/nu110177

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