MARCH 12, 2008

Mom's Low Fish Diet May Have Consequences for Baby

Study shows typical pregnancy diet may pose risk to infant development

March 12, 2008 Washington, DC - A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says the typical American diet, low in seafood, is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and may pose a risk to babies' developing eyes and brains.

"This is what we have been concerned about for years," said Mary A. Harris, PhD., RD an expert in fetal nutrition from Colorado State University. "We've been trying to get the word out about just how vital omega-3 fatty acids are to a developing child. And the only way babies in the womb get their omega-3s is through moms' diets. This study highlights just how important it is for women and families to get positive messages about eating fish."

The study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, looked at 135 pregnant women and ran vision tests on their children at two months of age.

"The researchers found that the women who ate lots of meat and little fish were deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and their babies didn't do as well on eye tests as babies from mothers who weren't deficient," according to a release from the Child and Family Research Institute, the organization that conducted the study. "This discovery is an important step towards developing dietary fat guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women [that]...evolved from the 1950's emphasis on reducing saturated fat intake."

For more than 60 years, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and its members have provided American families with the variety of sustainable seafood essential to a healthy diet. For more information visit: www.AboutSeafood.com.

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