DHA For Children
DHA is important for brain and eye development and function throughout the life stages, but is particularly important during the first two years of life and early childhood. Between birth and five years of age, the human brain increases approximately 3.5 times in mass. During this time it is important that children consume adequate amounts of DHA in their diet to support this period of rapid brain and eye growth and development.
DHA provides a number of important health benefits to children, including:
- Supports normal cognitive function*
- Supports brain and eye development and function*
- Supports a healthy heart*
Recently published research suggests that for children ages 7-9, who are underperforming in reading, a healthy diet that achieves 600 mg of DHA daily may support improvements in reading, memory and behavior.
Why It's Important to Provide DHA for Your Children
American children consume an average of only 30 to 50mg of DHA per day. It’s no surprise that children consume less than optimal levels of DHA. Foods that naturally contain DHA are limited to organ meats and fatty fish, which are not commonly consumed by young children. In addition, picky and unbalanced eating habits, food allergies and a recent FDA warning for young children to limit consumption of certain types of fish due to concerns over high levels of mercury, make it difficult for parents to ensure their children are obtaining optimal levels of DHA.
Fortunately, as awareness of the importance of DHA continues to grow, more attention is being paid to the fact that young children may benefit from getting more DHA in their diets. A growing awareness of the dietary sources of DHA and the inclusion of DHA into follow-on formulas and certain fortified foods are making it easier for people of all ages, including young children, to obtain this important nutrient from their daily diets.