#Weekly #fish consumption improves #sleep in children

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Greater fish consumption is associated with improved cognition among children, but the mediating pathways have not been well delineated. Now scientists have demonstrated that children who consume fish at least once a week sleep better and have IQ scores that are four points higher, on average, than those who consume fish less frequently or not at all. The study, published in Scientific Reports, reveals sleep as a possible mediating pathway, the potential missing link between fish and intelligence.

The research included 541 children. Fish consumption and sleep quality were assessed at age 9-11 years, while IQ was assessed at age 12. Frequent fish consumption was related to both fewer sleep problems and higher IQ scores. A dose-response relationship indicated higher IQ scores in children who always (4.80 points) or sometimes (3.31 points) consumed fish, compared to those who rarely ate fish (all P<.05). Sleep quality partially mediated the relationship between fish consumption and verbal, but not performance, IQ. Findings were robust after controlling for multiple sociodemographic covariates.

The study is the first to indicate that frequent fish consumption may help reduce sleep problems, which may, in turn, benefit long-term cognitive functioning in childre



Improving diet over time lowers risk of premature death

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Even modest changes can reduce total and cardiovascular mortality.

Findings from a new study have shown that people who improve the quality of their diet over time, eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish and less red and processed meats and sugary beverages, may significantly reduce their risk of premature death.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , is the first to show that improving diet quality over at least a dozen years is associated with lower total and cardiovascular mortality, and underscores the importance of maintaining healthy eating patterns over the long term.
Food groups that contributed most to an improvement in diet quality were whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish or N-3 fatty acids.

“Our results highlight the long-term health benefits of improving diet quality with an emphasis on overall dietary patterns rather than on individual foods or nutrients. A healthy eating pattern can be adopted according to individuals’ food and cultural preferences and health conditions. There is no one-size-fits-all diet,” said Frank Hu, professor and chair of the Harvard Chan School Department of Nutrition and senior study author.

High consumption of fish during pregnancy may be harmful to child

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Greek researchers found a link between rapid growth and increased risk of obesity.

Fish is an important source of omega 3 fatty acids, but eating too much fish during pregnancy may do more harm than good to the baby. In a study published in “JAMA Pediatrics”, Greek researchers have found an association between eating fish more than three times a week and rapid growth in infancy as well as a tendency for childhood obesity.

Leda Chatzi and her team from the University of Crete analysed European and US data from 26,184 pregnant women and their children. They examined associations between the amount of fish consumed during pregnancy as well as growth and weight of the children until the age of six.

Of the children, 31 per cent exhibited rapid growth until the age of two, 19.4 per cent were overweight between the age of four and six, and 15.2 per cent were obese. Fish intake during pregnancy varied strongly from country to country – pregnant women in Belgium ate fish 0.5 times per week while pregnant women in Spain ate fish 4.45 times per week. Eating fish more than three times a week was classified as high intake, once a week as low intake, and one to three times a week was classified as moderate intake.

When compared with the other two groups, children of women who consumed high amounts of fish had an increased likelihood of having a higher BMI at the age of two, four and six years. Furthermore, rapid growth from birth to age two correlated with an increased risk of being overweight and obese at ages four and six. This association was more pronounced in girls than in boys.

“Contamination by environmental pollutants in fish could provide an explanation for the observed association,” wrote the authors. However, the authors emphasised that this hypothesis remained speculative because they did not have enough data either on the types of fish consumed or on the water source of the fish.