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Seafood consumption among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age in the United States, NHANES 1999–2006
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  • Description:
    Objectives

    Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in seafood are essential for optimal neurodevelopment of the fetus. However, concerns about mercury contamination of seafood and its potential harm to the developing fetus have created uncertainty about seafood consumption for pregnant women. We compared fish and shellfish consumption patterns, as well as their predictors, among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age in the US.

    Methods

    Data from 1,260 pregnant and 5,848 non-pregnant women aged 16–49 years from the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed. Frequency and type of seafood consumed and adjusted associations of multiple characteristics with seafood consumption were estimated for pregnant and non-pregnant women, separately. Time trends were also examined.

    Results

    There were no significant differences in the prevalence of fish or shellfish consumption, separately or combined, between pregnant and non-pregnant women using either the 30-day questionnaire or the Day 1, 24-h recall. Seafood consumption was associated with higher age, income, and education among pregnant and non-pregnant women, and among fish consumers these groups were more likely to consume ≥3 servings in the past 30 days. Tuna and shrimp were the most frequently reported fish and shellfish, respectively, among both pregnant and non-pregnant women. We observed no significant time trends.

    Conclusion

    There were no differences in seafood consumption between pregnant and non-pregnant women, and the factors related to seafood consumption were similar for both groups. Our data suggest that many women consume less than the recommended two servings of seafood a week.

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