April 30, 2009

York Region weighs in on the great fish debate


New guide encourages families to eat at least two servings a week of fish low in mercury and high in omega-3 fats


NEWMARKET – There has been great debate and confusion surrounding the health benefits of fish.  The Regional Municipality of York Public Health Branch recently released a Guide to Eating Fish for Women, Children and Families.


This Guide encourages residents to eat at least two servings of fish each week that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury.  To obtain the most nutritional benefits consistent with Eating Well with Canada Food Guide, serving sizes should be 75 grams or 2.5 ounces each.


Fish is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats and other nutrients important to a healthy diet.  Many types of fish are high in omega-3 fats.  One type of omega-3 fat, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), helps the proper development of the brain and eyes in the fetus, infants and young children.  Omega-3 fats are also “good” fats for heart health which is important at all ages.


Nearly all types of fish and shellfish contain mercury.  However, certain types of fish may contain higher levels of mercury than others.  Regular exposure to high amounts of mercury can be harmful, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children.  Everyone, but especially women of childbearing age and children, should choose low mercury fish more often.


The Guide answers questions such as:

It also provides advice on how much and what types of fish are the best choices – which types to choose often, sometimes and rarely.  The guide also answers the most common questions about fish safety and nutrition. 


The Guide to Eating Fish for Women, Children and Families is available at www.york.ca/fishguide                 


A downloadable convenient wallet card and a Fish IQ test are also available at this site. 


For more information on this or any other public health-related program, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca


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Media Contact:           Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region

Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 251-5553

                                    Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca
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