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High Omega-3 Levels In Blood Of Expectant Mothers Lowers Risk Of Obesity In Children

February 10, 2011: 05:29 AM EST
A U.S. study has found that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy reduce the incidence of obesity among children at three years old. Scientists measured prenatal omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentrations in umbilical cord blood and later measured their child’s body mass index (BMI) and skinfolds. They found that a higher ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the blood was associated with a lower risk of obesity. About 20 percent of the expectant mothers tested ate more than two fish meals a week at mid-pregnancy, but few ate fish known to be high in omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. The children of women who had a high ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s were two to four times more likely to be obese at age three.
S. M Donahue, et al. , "Prenatal fatty acid status and child adiposity at age 3 y: results from a US pregnancy cohort", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 10, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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