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 its total mass! During this time it is critically important that infants and children consume adequate amounts of DHA in their diet to support this period of rapid brain growth and development.
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 as well as food allergies 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 daily diet. A growing awareness of the dietary sources of DHA and the inclusion of DHA into growing up milks/young child 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 diet.
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