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      Which Fish Should I Eat? Perspectives Influencing Fish Consumption Choices

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          Abstract

          Background: Diverse perspectives have influenced fish consumption choices.

          Objectives: We summarized the issue of fish consumption choice from toxicological, nutritional, ecological, and economic points of view; identified areas of overlap and disagreement among these viewpoints; and reviewed effects of previous fish consumption advisories.

          Methods: We reviewed published scientific literature, public health guidelines, and advisories related to fish consumption, focusing on advisories targeted at U.S. populations. However, our conclusions apply to groups having similar fish consumption patterns.

          Discussion: There are many possible combinations of matters related to fish consumption, but few, if any, fish consumption patterns optimize all domains. Fish provides a rich source of protein and other nutrients, but because of contamination by methylmercury and other toxicants, higher fish intake often leads to greater toxicant exposure. Furthermore, stocks of wild fish are not adequate to meet the nutrient demands of the growing world population, and fish consumption choices also have a broad economic impact on the fishing industry. Most guidance does not account for ecological and economic impacts of different fish consumption choices.

          Conclusion: Despite the relative lack of information integrating the health, ecological, and economic impacts of different fish choices, clear and simple guidance is necessary to effect desired changes. Thus, more comprehensive advice can be developed to describe the multiple impacts of fish consumption. In addition, policy and fishery management inter-ventions will be necessary to ensure long-term availability of fish as an important source of human nutrition.

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          Most cited references 124

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          Breastfeeding and child cognitive development: new evidence from a large randomized trial.

          The evidence that breastfeeding improves cognitive development is based almost entirely on observational studies and is thus prone to confounding by subtle behavioral differences in the breastfeeding mother's behavior or her interaction with the infant. To assess whether prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children's cognitive ability at age 6.5 years. Cluster-randomized trial, with enrollment from June 17, 1996, to December 31, 1997, and follow-up from December 21, 2002, to April 27, 2005. Thirty-one Belarussian maternity hospitals and their affiliated polyclinics. A total of 17,046 healthy breastfeeding infants were enrolled, of whom 13,889 (81.5%) were followed up at age 6.5 years. Breastfeeding promotion intervention modeled on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Subtest and IQ scores on the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence, and teacher evaluations of academic performance in reading, writing, mathematics, and other subjects. The experimental intervention led to a large increase in exclusive breastfeeding at age 3 months (43.3% for the experimental group vs 6.4% for the control group; P < .001) and a significantly higher prevalence of any breastfeeding at all ages up to and including 12 months. The experimental group had higher means on all of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence measures, with cluster-adjusted mean differences (95% confidence intervals) of +7.5 (+0.8 to +14.3) for verbal IQ, +2.9 (-3.3 to +9.1) for performance IQ, and +5.9 (-1.0 to +12.8) for full-scale IQ. Teachers' academic ratings were significantly higher in the experimental group for both reading and writing. These results, based on the largest randomized trial ever conducted in the area of human lactation, provide strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children's cognitive development. isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN37687716.
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            Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): an observational cohort study.

            Seafood is the predominant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimum neural development. However, in the USA, women are advised to limit their seafood intake during pregnancy to 340 g per week. We used the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to assess the possible benefits and hazards to a child's development of different levels of maternal seafood intake during pregnancy. 11,875 pregnant women completed a food frequency questionnaire assessing seafood consumption at 32 weeks' gestation. Multivariable logistic regression models including 28 potential confounders assessing social disadvantage, perinatal, and dietary items were used to compare developmental, behavioural, and cognitive outcomes of the children from age 6 months to 8 years in women consuming none, some (1-340 g per week), and >340 g per week. After adjustment, maternal seafood intake during pregnancy of less than 340 g per week was associated with increased risk of their children being in the lowest quartile for verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) (no seafood consumption, odds ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% CI 1.16-1.90; some, 1.09, 0.92-1.29; overall trend, p=0.004), compared with mothers who consumed more than 340 g per week. Low maternal seafood intake was also associated with increased risk of suboptimum outcomes for prosocial behaviour, fine motor, communication, and social development scores. For each outcome measure, the lower the intake of seafood during pregnancy, the higher the risk of suboptimum developmental outcome. Maternal seafood consumption of less than 340 g per week in pregnancy did not protect children from adverse outcomes; rather, we recorded beneficial effects on child development with maternal seafood intakes of more than 340 g per week, suggesting that advice to limit seafood consumption could actually be detrimental. These results show that risks from the loss of nutrients were greater than the risks of harm from exposure to trace contaminants in 340 g seafood eaten weekly.
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              Effect of DHA supplementation during pregnancy on maternal depression and neurodevelopment of young children: a randomized controlled trial.

              Uncertainty about the benefits of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for pregnant women and their children exists, despite international recommendations that pregnant women increase their DHA intakes. To determine whether increasing DHA during the last half of pregnancy will result in fewer women with high levels of depressive symptoms and enhance the neurodevelopmental outcome of their children. A double-blind, multicenter, randomized controlled trial (DHA to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome [DOMInO] trial) in 5 Australian maternity hospitals of 2399 women who were less than 21 weeks' gestation with singleton pregnancies and who were recruited between October 31, 2005, and January 11, 2008. Follow-up of children (n = 726) was completed December 16, 2009. Docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil capsules (providing 800 mg/d of DHA) or matched vegetable oil capsules without DHA from study entry to birth. High levels of depressive symptoms in mothers as indicated by a score of more than 12 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at 6 weeks or 6 months postpartum. Cognitive and language development in children as assessed by the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition, at 18 months. Of 2399 women enrolled, 96.7% completed the trial. The percentage of women with high levels of depressive symptoms during the first 6 months postpartum did not differ between the DHA and control groups (9.67% vs 11.19%; adjusted relative risk, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70-1.02; P = .09). Mean cognitive composite scores (adjusted mean difference, 0.01; 95% CI, -1.36 to 1.37; P = .99) and mean language composite scores (adjusted mean difference, -1.42; 95% CI, -3.07 to 0.22; P = .09) of children in the DHA group did not differ from children in the control group. The use of DHA-rich fish oil capsules compared with vegetable oil capsules during pregnancy did not result in lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improved cognitive and language development in their offspring during early childhood. anzctr.org.au Identifier: ACTRN12605000569606.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Health Perspect
                Environ. Health Perspect
                EHP
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
                0091-6765
                1552-9924
                22 February 2012
                June 2012
                : 120
                : 6
                : 790-798
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                [2 ]Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                [3 ]Section of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA
                [4 ]Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, Washington, USA
                [5 ]Laboratoire d’economie des ressources naturelles, Institut national de la recherche agronomique, Toulouse School of Economics, Toulouse, France
                [6 ]U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA
                [7 ]Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to E. Oken, 133 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215 USA. Telephone: (617) 509-9879. Fax: (617) 509-9853. E-mail: emily_oken@ 123456hphc.org
                Article
                ehp.1104500
                10.1289/ehp.1104500
                3385441
                22534056

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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