Can children get enough DHA from what they normally eat?
What also forms during the childhood years is dietary preferences. Yet the diet of most children in the United States is loaded with omega-6 fatty acids, and barely any omega-3's, let alone EPA and DHA. Foods in our society revolve around animal meat, warm climate vegetable oils like corn oil, fried foods, and commercially prepared foods. Animal meat and corn oil supply mostly saturated and omega-6 fatty acids. Frying destroys polyunsaturated fatty acids, and creates harmful free radical products. Commercially processed foods are high in trans-fatty acids, very different in structure from natural cis-fatty acids. So, most American kids are probably not getting enough DHA when they need it most.
Adding to the problem, our society's obsession with the slim figure causes many children, particularly girls, to severely restrict their intake of foods, especially fatty foods. This tendency may be aggravated by the physical demands of athletic involvement, such as gymnastics, ballet, or figure skating, where smaller is better. These children manage to maintain a sleek body often at the expense of a sound mind. Ironically, the scant fatty acid levels in the low calorie diets meant to optimize their performance may be preventing them from performing as well as they can.
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