Salmon protects babies from illness

Elizabeth Fricke

Article Summary

In this article posted in the Daily Mail online, Fiona Macrae (2016) discusses the recent findings from Philip Calder at Southampton University suggesting that eating oily fish during pregnancy prevents the child from developing asthma later on in life. By eating foods such a mackerel and salmon during pregnancy, the child is being exposed to these foods. This allows for the child’s immune system to be prepared for allergens later in life that may cause illnesses like asthma. In the study, the women either ate salmon twice a week halfway through their pregnancy or they did not eat any salmon. The results showed that by age three, 10 percent of the children in the study were diagnosed with asthma. The majority of the children diagnosed with asthma had mothers who did not consume any salmon during their pregnancies. Macrae concludes that lifestyle choices made early in the pregnancy have effects on the child’s immunity later in life.

Article Critique

The author of this article, Fiona Macrae, is the science editor for The Daily Mail and it is unclear how much science background Macrae has however if she did have any type of nutrition-based credentials, they would most likely be listed. Therefore, one must read this article with caution. The Daily Mail is a newspaper based in The United Kingdom that reports stories concerning topics ranging from world news to pop culture. It is not a reputable site for nutrition information. Credible sources for nutrition information are mostly found on government or professional health websites not from general newspapers. The article did not post any citation for the study discussed and it says that the findings have not yet been published but only presented at an environmental biology conference. This statement is not enough to give the findings credibility. This article seems to sensationalize the subject. “SALMON” is in all caps to grab the readers’ attention. The headline says that children are “5 times less likely to develop allergies” if their mothers eat salmon and “fatty acids in fish may protect against allergies and diseases like Crohn’s” although nowhere within the article does Macrae explain this statistic nor have any type of citation or explanation for these statements. It seems as if Macrae is trying to get the readers’ attention through alarming statements even though they may not be valid at all. If one wanted credible information on this topic, they could look for related studies in peer-reviewed journals or on government websites.