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In a study designed to estimate intake of PUFAs, identify sources of PUFA and estimate the proportion of US children aged 12-60 months eating fish by age, race and ethnicity it was found that 47% of children do not consume fish. The results from the study indicated DHA intake was low across all groups, and only 53.7% of children reported eating fish in the last 30 days. The study also found a greater percentage of non-Hispanic black children ate fish overall, and Mexican American children were more likely to have eaten shellfish than non-Hispanic white children. Total n-3 intake did not significantly change with age, but total n-6 intake increased significantly. Compared to other countries, US children consumed higher intake of total n-6 and demonstrated lower DHA and EPA intakes.
There has been speculation about a link between exposure to mercury during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorders, but limited data to support the theory. Researchers studied nearly 1800 mother/child pairs in the Republic of Seychelles, where people eat fish-rich diets and mercury levels are 10-20 higher than in the U.S. There was no association between exposure to mercury from eating a fish-rich diet during pregnancy and autism-like behaviors among 10-year-old children.
Dietary Patterns, n-3 Fatty Acids Intake from Seafood and High Levels of Anxiety Symptoms during Pregnancy: Findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and ChildrenAuthors: Juliana dos Santos Vaz, et al. / Journal: PLOS One, July 2013
Excessive anxiety during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, shorter length of gestation, and negative effects on infant brain development, including stress regulation. Among over 9,500 pregnant women in the UK, those with no intake of omega-3s from seafood had a 53% greater likelihood of high levels of anxiety when compared to pregnant women who got at least 1.5 grams omega-3s from seafood per week.