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Contribution of fish to intakes of micronutrients important for fetal development: a dietary survey of pregnant women in the Republic of Seychelles

Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.48). 12/2008; 12(9):1312-20. DOI: 10.1017/S136898000800387X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To characterise the diets of pregnant women in the Republic of Seychelles and to determine the contribution of fish to intakes of nutrients important for fetal and neonatal development.
Observational, prospective study.
Seychelles Child Development Centre, Mahé, Republic of Seychelles.
Pregnant women (n 300) were recruited at their first visit to an antenatal clinic. At 28 weeks' gestation subjects completed a 4 d diet diary (n 273) and intakes were analysed using dietary analysis software.
Mean (sd) energy intake was 9.0 (2.5) MJ/d and fat intakes were higher than UK recommendations for almost two-thirds of the cohort. Fish consumption was lower than in previous surveys, suggesting a move towards a more Westernised diet. Low intakes of a number of nutrients important during pregnancy for fetal development (Fe, Zn, Se and iodine) were observed. However, women who met the current recommendations for these nutrients consumed significantly more fish than those who did not (97 v. 73 g/d).
The present study highlights the importance of fish in the diet of pregnant Seychellois women for ensuring adequate intakes of micronutrients important in fetal development. Dietary patterns in Seychelles, however, are in a state of transition, with a move towards a Western-style diet as evidenced by higher fat and lower fish intakes. If these dietary trends continue and fish consumption declines further, micronutrient status may be compromised. These findings suggest caution in establishing public health policies that promote limitation of fish intake during pregnancy.

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    • "Complementing its fatty acid content, fish is also known to be an important source of essential micronutrients – vitamins D and B, and minerals (Roos et al. 2003; 2007; Bonham et al. 2009). Lipid-rich fish also contain vitamin A. Recent research showed that fish species consumed whole with bones, heads, and viscera play a critical role in micronutrient intakes of people as these parts are where most micronutrients are concentrated . "
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    • "Complementing its fatty acid content, fish is also known to be an important source of essential micronutrients – vitamins D and B, and minerals (Roos et al. 2003; 2007; Bonham et al. 2009). Lipid-rich fish also contain vitamin A. Recent research showed that fish species consumed whole with bones, heads, and viscera play a critical role in micronutrient intakes of people as these parts are where most micronutrients are concentrated . "
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    • "Complementing its fatty acid content, fish is also known to be an important source of essential micronutrients – vitamins D and B, and minerals (Roos et al. 2003; 2007; Bonham et al. 2009). Lipid-rich fish also contain vitamin A. Recent research showed that fish species consumed whole with bones, heads, and viscera play a critical role in micronutrient intakes of people as these parts are where most micronutrients are concentrated . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fish provides more than 4.5 billion people with at least 15 % of their average per capita intake of animal protein. Fish's unique nutritional properties make it also essential to the health of billions of consumers in both developed and developing countries. Fish is one of the most efficient converters of feed into high quality food and its carbon footprint is lower compared to other animal production systems. Through fish-related activities (fisheries and aquaculture but also processing and trading), fish contribute substantially to the income and therefore to the indirect food security of more than 10 % of the world population, essentially in developing and emergent countries. Yet, limited attention has been given so far to fish as a key element in food security and nutrition strategies at national level and in wider development discussions and interventions. As a result, the tremendous potential for improving food security and nutrition embodied in the strengthening of the fishery and aquaculture sectors is missed. The purpose of this paper is to make a case for a closer integration of fish into the overall debate and future policy about food security and nutrition. For this, we review the evidence from the contemporary and emerging debates and controversies around fisheries and aquaculture and we discuss them in the light of the issues debated in the wider agriculture/farming literature. The overarching question that underlies this paper is: how and to what extent will fish be able to contribute to feeding 9 billion people in 2050 and beyond? Keywords Fish. Food security and nutrition. Micro-nutrient deficiency. Fisheries. Aquaculture
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