Research News

Overweight children may not benefit from good fats: study

April, 2017    |

New research suggests that body weight plays a significant role in how much benefit children get from consuming good fats. The study, conducted by Ohio State University, highlights the need for weight-appropriate dosing of medications and supplements.

Over the course of the study, researchers compared fatty acid uptake after children took a supplement to both their body mass index (BMI) and their overall body weight. It was discovered that the more a child weighed and the higher their BMI was, the lower their levels of DHA and EPA—two key omega-3 fatty acids.

As well as highlighting the need for appropriate dosing information, the results provide important information to parents and healthcare providers alike.

While other omega-3 studies have focused on infants and adults, this one joins a growing body of research looking into its effects on older children and teens. It has been shown to boost HDL and lower blood pressure in children 8-15 years old, and are also beneficial for mental health.

Lead author Lisa Christian, an associate professor of psychiatry in the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, notes that parents looking to feed their children foods high in omega-3s should be mindful that as they gain weight, they’ll need more of them to make a difference.

“While this study just looked at fatty acid supplements, it’s important to recognize that weight differences could factor into how children and adults respond to many types of medications,” Christian said. “Weight, rather than age, may be more meaningful when determining recommended doses. The difference in size between a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old can be quite significant.”

For more information, read the full study here.