Maternal fish consumption and child neurodevelopment in Nutrition 1 Cohort: Seychelles Child Development Study

Marie Conway, Alison J. Yeates, Tanzy Love, Daniel Weller, Emeir M. McSorley, Maria S Mulhern, Maria Wesolowska, Gene Watson, Gary Myers, Conrad Shamlaye, Juliette Henderson, Philip Davidson, Edwin van Wijngaarden, JJ Strain

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Maternal fish consumption exposes the fetus to beneficial nutrients and potentially adverse neurotoxicants. The current study investigated associations between maternal fish consumption and child neurodevelopmental outcomes. Maternal fish consumption was assessed in the Seychelles Child Development Study Nutrition Cohort 1 (n 229) using 4-day food diaries. Neurodevelopment was evaluated at 9 and 30 months, and 5 and 9 years with test batteries assessing twenty-six endpoints and covering multiple neurodevelopmental domains. Analyses used multiple linear regression with adjustment for covariates known to influence child neurodevelopment. This cohort consumed an average of 8 fish meals/week and the total fish intake during pregnancy was 106·8 (sd 61·9) g/d. Among the twenty-six endpoints evaluated in the primary analysis there was one beneficial association. Children whose mothers consumed larger quantities of fish performed marginally better on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (a test of nonverbal intelligence) at age 5 years (β 0·003, 95 % CI (0, 0·005)). A secondary analysis dividing fish consumption into tertiles found no significant associations when comparing the highest and lowest consumption groups. In this cohort, where fish consumption is substantially higher than current global recommendations, maternal fish consumption during pregnancy was not beneficially or adversely associated with children's neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date10 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 10 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Cohort 1 participants and the health team in Seychelles for data collection and all their work with the implementation of dietary assessment. This work was supported by grants from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health (grants R01 ES10219, P30 ES01247, T32ES0007271 and R01 ES015578), the European Union (contract EU FP6-2004-FIID-3-A PHIME, Public Health Impact of long term, low-level Mixed Element Exposure in susceptible population strata) and by the Government of Seychelles.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society.


  • pregnancy
  • fish consumption
  • neurodevelopment
  • cognition
  • child development
  • Pregnancy
  • Child development
  • Fish consumption
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Cognition


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