We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Fish and shellfish are a great source of lean protein and often contain important nutrients for your child's development, including calcium, vitamin D, and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are superior to the omega-3 ALA, mostly found in plant-based foods. The omega-3s are especially beneficial for your child's brain, and it's difficult to find them in other types of food.
Yet most American kids these days eat hardly any fish, a new AAP report found. Seafood consumption has dropped every year since 2007 and is at more than a 30-year low, the authors write.
That's too bad, because studies show that eating fish early in life may possibly be linked to lower risk for allergies such as asthma, eczema, and hay fever. Kids who eat fish, and those born to moms who ate seafood during pregnancy, may also perform better on academic tests and have fewer behavioral problems than kids who haven't been exposed to seafood, some research suggests.
But there's plenty of reasons why you may be concerned about giving your kids seafood. Some types of fish, as you've probably heard, are high in mercury, and that could be dangerous for your child. Also, some seafood is harvested in unsustainable ways or with child labor, and buying it contributes to allowing these harmful practices to continue.
So what should you do? Here are some tips for ensuring your child reaps the benefits – and not the problems – associated with fish consumption:
- Feed your child small servings of different types of fish or shellfish one to two times per week. (The AAP recommends 1-ounce servings for children ages 2 to 3, 2 ounces for ages 4 to 7, 3 ounces for ages 8 to 10, and 4-ounce servings for ages 11 and older.)
- Choose fish from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "best choices" and "good choices" lists. These include catfish, cod, salmon, sardines, and canned light tuna.
- Avoid fish high in mercury such as tilefish, shark, swordfish, king mackerel, orange roughy, marlin, and bigeye tuna.
- Choose sustainably and ethically caught or farmed fish when you can. Buying from U.S. fisheries is a good bet, because environmental and labor practices here are stronger than in some other countries.
- If you like catching your own freshwater fish, check for current advisories in your state before eating it. Some freshwater fish might contain toxins such as PCBs. The FDA also recommends removing the skin, fat, and internal organs before cooking, because that's where toxins tend to concentrate.
For more information on feeding fish to your children, check out these our site articles:
our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.