We studied trends in fish intake among pregnant women living in the Madeira River Basin in Rondônia State, Brazil, to investigate the influence of maternal fish intake on anthropometric indices of children followed up to 5 years. Maternal fish intake was assessed using hair mercury concentrations of mothers and children at delivery and 6, 24, and 59 months. Data analysis was performed using a linear mixed-effect model. Mothers were predominantly young, had low incomes and limited schooling, and breastfed for >6 months. Only 1.9% of children had low birth weight. Anthropometric indices in approximately 80% of the study population showed Z-score values ranging from ≥−2 to ≤1. The influence of maternal fish intake on anthropometric indices, including height-to-age (H/A), weight-to-age (W/A), and weight-to-height (W/H) were not statistically significant after model adjustments. However, higher income and larger birth weight had a positive influence on H/A and W/A, whereas W/H gain was favored by higher maternal educational status and breastfeeding duration. Other variables (hemoglobin concentration and maternal age) had a positive significant influence on anthropometric indices. Maternal fish intake (or its attendant MeHg exposure) did not affect children growth. Nevertheless, it is advisable to avoid mercury-contaminated fish during pregnancy and childhood.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited