You’ve probably heard that kids today weigh more on average than their parents did when they were kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one in five kids are carrying more weight — like, a lot more — than they should.[i]
Many factors play into this societal change, but if you’re a parent, making sure your kids eat a healthy diet, stay active and get enough sleep are some of the most important ways you can help them maintain a healthy weight. A recent study suggests another surprising step concerned mamas can take—supplementing with Omega-3 during pregnancy.*[ii],[iii]
What happens when moms-to-be take Prenatal DHA?
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed data from 154 children enrolled in the long-term Kansas University DHA Outcomes study. Researchers followed the youngsters from the time their mothers were pregnant with them until the kids were five years old. Half the expectant women were given 600 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of DHA) a day, while the others took a placebo of plain corn oil and soybean oil.
A little more than five years later, here’s what happened. Researchers took the kids’ measurements, and lo and behold, they noticed a difference between the two groups. Kids whose moms took Omega-3s while preggers had the same percentage of body fat as the other children, but on average, they had 1.3 more pounds of fat-free mass (comprised of organs, bones, muscles, water and connective tissue). That means that their bodies were a little bigger overall, but less of their body composition was fat. Simply put, they were leaner.
How to get more DHA
DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish, seaweed and fortified eggs. Flaxseed contains ALA, which the body converts to DHA. Fish oil supplements are a convenient way to get DHA, while vegetarians can turn to flax oil supplements to meet their Omega-3 needs.
FREE PREGNANCY NUTRITION JOURNALDid you know May is Pregnancy Awareness month? Take a look at the informative (& cute!) nutrition journal we created. It's yours to keep or share.
[ii] Gray N. Nutraingredients. 2018 Apr 4. https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2018/04/04/Omega-3-for-fat-free-kids-Study-links-DHA-to-higher-fat-free-body-mass-in-children
[iii] Hidaka BH, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jan 1;107(1):35-42.