Good fat and kids. Wondering how much avocado or extra virgin olive oil to put in tonight’s salad? A new study has a tip for you.
According to the study, which was led by Lisa Christian, an associate professor at Ohio State University, body weight is a more important factor than age when looking at the amount of good fats and supplements to give children.
Depending on the size of your child, he or she may need to consume more or less food get what is considered to be a healthy amount of fatty acids, which have been found to decrease blood pressure as well as increase the amount of good cholesterol.
Not every 10-year-old weighs the same, is the same height, and the controversial BMI measurements can sometimes fluctuate pretty wildly. So, Christian and her team of researchers came to the conclusion that it only makes sense to use the individual child’s weight instead when trying to determine the amount of supplements needed and how much food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids they need to consume such as salmon (Wild salmon contains much more omega-3’s than farmed salmon), soybeans, and walnuts.
“Weight, rather than age, may be more meaningful when determining recommended doses. The difference in size between a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old can be quite significant,” Christian says in the study.
One supporting point for this study was that the higher the weight/BMI of the child, usually the lower were the amounts of different good fatty acids in their blood such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) the two main types of good acids.
Both EPA and DHA can help with better brain and memory function, lower blood pressure, and increase good cholesterol. This itself shows that dosing needs to be based off individual weight instead of predetermined age/BMI amounts, not only for supplements and good fatty acids, but also for other things such as medications.
“While this study just looked at fatty acid supplements, it’s important to recognise that weight differences could factor into how children and adults respond to many types of medications,” Christian noted.
There is also speculation that omega-3 acids can have some effect on ADHD in children, but at this point it has not been proven and should not be done in place of medications.
Having the proper amount of good fatty acids in your blood should be the case for adults as well, and not just children. Fish oils can be linked to reducing the amount of triglycerides in the blood which can cause heart disease. It should also be noted that although it has not directly proven yet, it is believed that omega-3 acids can help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, and have a proven link to helping with adult memory.
According to the Childhood Obesity Foundation, in 2013 there were 42-million overweight or obese children around the world, and this number is expected to grow to at least 70 million by 2025 if the current rate is maintained. Canada is no exception to this statistic either, obesity has been on the rise here since the late 1970’s. Sure eating some healthy omega-3 acids may not end the obesity epidemic, but it’s a damn good start.