According to a new study featured on Science Daily, kids do not consume enough polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which could possibly lead to memory and learning deficiencies later on in life.

Researchers led by Dr. Sara Keim of the Center for Biobehavioral Health at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital examined data on almost 2,500 children who participated in the previous US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found a grave imbalance in the Omega-6 and Omega-3 levels of the participants.

"The ratio of omega-6 to Omega-3 intake was high -- about 10. Some experts use this as an indicator of diet quality, with a high ratio being less healthy. In addition, intake of a key fatty acid known as DHA in children 12 to 60 months of age was low -- lower than what infants generally consume -- and it does not increase with age," Dr. Keim says.

Fish is a good source of fatty acids but according to Dr. Keim, "Only about 54 percent of children ate fish at least once in the previous months… Because diet can be an important contributor to many diseases, it's important to understand how such disparities may contribute to disease risk.”

Researchers recommend that children be exposed to a variety of food once they start consuming things other than milk. Aside from fruits and vegetables, they should learn to appreciate viands that are high in PUFAs such as fish, algae, and shellfish which may improve their cognitive growth.


(Photo by Philippe Put via Flickr Creative Commons)

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