It also found emerging evidence of benefits for asthma and bone health. Report’s co-author and Omega-3 Centre Executive Director Wendy Morgan said lack of omega-3s could also be setting up children for major chronic illnesses, particularly heart disease, in adulthood. "What they are eating now is going to influence their risk of a heart attack in later life," she said. "There is a huge amount of evidence looking at the many roles of long chain omega-3s in helping reduce the risk of heart disease."
The report found children aged 14 and over needed 500mg a day of long-chain omega-3s for optimal health. But most children consumed only 34mg to 118mg per day. Ms Morgan, a dietician, said most children were lucky to eat one meal of fish per week, but they needed two or three meals of oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and herrings, each week to meet the daily 500mg target. Deakin University’s Human Nutrition Expert Professor Andrew Sinclair said the problem was that many children did not like fish.
"The intake of omega-3s in Australian children is very low because most kids these days are such fussy eaters," he said. "They often just dont like fish and certainly steer away from other seafood which are naturally rich in these healthy long-chain omega-3 nutrients. “Parents need to be aware of this current enormous shortfall and find more creative ways to help their children consume more essential omega-3 nutrients." Ms Morgan said many foods were now enriched with omega-3s. These included milk, bread, yogurt, snack bars and even frozen chips. She said that while the amount of omega-3s in these enriched foods was usually small, every little bit helped. Long-chain omega-3s are an essential nutrient taken up by every cell in the body. But they are not produced by the body and must be taken in through diet.
Oily fish are the best sources, but other