An alarming new study indicates that excessive fish eating during pregnancy leads to child obesity. Pregnant women who eat a lot of fish could be causing health problems to their unborn child and not even realize it.
Although health experts urge pregnant women to eat fish, it turns out that too much of a good thing can turn bad.
The research found that pregnant women who eat more than three servings of fish in a week, have increased odds of having babies who grow fast and become obese when they reach 4 to 6 years old. It gets worse if the child is a girl, according to a Los Angeles Time report.
It’s a surprising finding, but scientists think they may have an idea why this is the case. Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may may cause fetal stem cells to differentiate into fat cells. Ither that, or pollutants in the fish could disrupt fetal hormones related to metabolism. Still, there’s no solid proof that this is the case.
In July 2014, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that pregnant women eat two to three servings of fish per week. The agencies’ advisory recommended that pregnant women steer clear of fish known to be contaminated with mercury (tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, for example). The soon-to-be mothers were advised to choose instead salmon, shrimp, pollock, light canned tuna, tipalia, catfish, and cod.
Women shouldn’t avoid fish altogether, because it’s a rich source of important nutrients like protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids – but they shouldn’t overindulge.
affirmed lead study author Dr. Leda Chatzi of the University of Crete in Greece.
To assess the connection between maternal fish consumption and childhood obesity, Chatzi and colleagues analyzed data from 15 previously published studies that tracked more than 26,000 pregnant women and their children at two-year intervals until the kids reached age six.
The combined study population included babies delivered from 1996 to 2011 in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Fish intake varied by region.
Firstly, with moderate fish consumption (1 to 3 times a week) researchers didn’t find any association with rapid infant growth or childhood obesity up to age six.
Secondly, women who ate fish more frequently during pregnancy had a 22% increased risk that children would experience unusually rapid growth from birth to age two, the study found.
However, there is no reason for pregnant women who eat fish in moderation to panic. The takeaway message, said study authors, was that pregnant women should follow recommended guidelines for fish intake and not exceed three servings per week.
Image Source: sheknows.com.