Omega-3s are critical nutrients for the developing fetus and the growing child. Published studies attest to the benefits of increasing omega-3 intake levels through dietary practices as well as dietary supplements, especially in pregnant women and in early childhood development. DHA and EPA remain of critical importance after birth, in early childhood and through adolescence. Unfortunately, the majority of DHA and EPA intake comes from the diet, and it has been shown that dietary intake of these essential omega-3s by both young and old remains woefully inadequate. This is concerning, given that ongoing research continues to point to the great need for omega-3s for healthy development.
The research on omega-3s and their ability to positively impact the developing fetus and growing children is clear. Nutritional interventions incorporating these essential and healthy fats can yield significant benefits for childhood growth and development. Although researchers must continue to tease out issues around dosing as well as identifying population groups that are likely to benefit the most, adding DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids to a child or expecting mother’s daily routine may be a prudent step in ensuring individuals are meeting their need for these critical nutritional factors.