A 2017 Pennsylvania School of Nursing study revealed that a steady diet of seafood advances a 9-11 year old’s IQ by five points more than kids who eat the usual proteins like red meat and chicken. And seafood-eating kids sleep better as well.
Now, a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms the considerable short- and long-term, positive health and enhanced IQ benefits when children eat seafood. Namely, the report suggests seafood consumption may improve infant neurodevelopment and decrease cardiovascular disease risk. It also indicates that introducing fish early in a child’s diet may help prevent autoimmune disorders such as asthma and eczema.
But, the study goes on to note that child consumption of seafood has declined every year since 2007. It seems parents resist introducing their kids to seafood for a number of reasons:
- Having not been raised on seafood themselves, some parents aren’t fond of seafood and therefore don’t introduce it to their children.
- Concerns about possible mercury contaminants in seafood have led some parents to avoid serving seafood to their families at all, without considering the possible health benefits their children may be missing out on by avoiding it.
- Some parents are concerned about the sustainability of seafood, and opt out of seafood dishes for their family – even though there are sustainable options on the market.
The study’s authors assert that it’s important for parents to embrace the benefits of seafood for their family’s health. With regard to mercury, Aaron Bernstein, the AAP study’s lead author, says for most types of fish, “the benefits far outweigh the risks.”
“For families who eat meat, fish should be a welcome part of a child’s diet,” he said. “We’re encouraging pediatricians to ask families about fish and shellfish consumption – since most children don’t eat much beyond the occasional fish sticks – and advise them on the healthiest choices.”
Families can address sustainability concerns by choosing seafood wisely, like looking for NOAA-certified seafood, or choosing species that are marked as Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Sustainable Choices.
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So do yourself AND your kids a favor and add a couple of fresh, delicious seafood meals per week to your schedule, and have it delivered direct to your door!