Kids who eat fish are smarter, sleep better

Eating fish is good for kids’ zzz’s and IQ’s.

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania found that children who eat fish at least once a week boosted their intelligence test scores and the quality of their sleep. The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, adds to earlier investigations into the relationship between omega-3s — fatty acids found in many types of fish — and improved smarts, and omega-3s and better shuteye.

But they’ve never all been connected before, according to Penn researchers who focused on omega-3s coming from food, not supplements.

“This area of research is not well-developed. It’s emerging,” said Jianghong Liu, lead author on the paper and an associate professor of nursing and public health, in a university release.

Findings are based on a group of 541 9- to 11-year-old boys and girls in China. Subjects reported how often they had consumed fish in the past month. Options ranged often (at least once per week), to occasionally (2-3 times per month), to seldom or never (less than 2 times per month).

Youngsters also took an IQ test that examines verbal and non-verbal skills such as vocabulary and coding. Parents completed a questionnaire about their kids’ sleep habits.

Not Released (NR)

Fresh research into the benefits of eating fish have important implications when it comes to promoting healthy diets for kids and adolescents.

(Michael Godek/Getty Images)

After accounting for parents’ education and jobs, marital status and the number of kids in the home, researchers found that kids who eat fish at least once a week sleep better and have IQ scores that are 4.8 points higher, on average, than those who consume fish less frequently or not at all. Those who sometimes ate fish scored 3.3 points higher.

Increased fish consumption was associated with “fewer disturbances of sleep, which,” researchers said, “indicates better overall sleep quality.”

The findings have important implications when it comes to promoting healthy diets for kids and adolescents, but the study authors acknowledge that more research is needed to “further explore the mechanisms through which mega-3 fatty acids may contribute to improved neurodevelopment and cognitive function.”

Still, Mrs. Paul, take a bow.

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