Senators Demand Better Nutrition Communications to Pregnant Women

National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB)
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Concerns Over Outdated Seafood Consumption Advice Riles Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. (August 7, 2013) – A bi-partisan letter to President Obama calls on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use the latest in nutrition  science to better communicate with pregnant women.

The letter from Senators Mary Landrieu and Saxby Chambliss cites concerns about delays in updating the FDA seafood advisory to pregnant women; “each day the new FDA advice is delayed means pregnant women are without sound, science-driven recommendations to make informed decisions regarding seafood consumption during pregnancy.”

The most up-to-date research finds a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids improves baby brain and eye development. But the current advice to women, crafted in 2004, is based on studies dating back to 2002 and even before. The advice often leaves pregnant women with the misimpression that they should avoid seafood altogether.

“Letters like this one are an example of the frustration we see when proper communication lags behind science,” said Janice Frey-Angel, CEO of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. “In an age when we can deliver instantaneous health and nutrition updates to pregnant women via text message it shouldn’t take 9 years to update advice.”

The Senators’ letter notes that the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend pregnant women eat at least 8 ounces of seafood per week; concluding, “the benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh the risks, even for pregnant women.” Currently, pregnant women eat less than two.

In pushing for updated, consistent federal advice the Senators point to bureaucracy as the cause of the delay.

About HMHB
Established in 1981, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) works to improve the health and safety of mothers, babies and families through education and collaborative partnerships of public and private organizations.  HMHB’s Perinatal Nutrition Working Group, comprised of top professors of obstetrics, doctors of nutrition and registered dietitians, serve as an evidence-based resource to physicians, organizations and women.  In 2010, HMHB launched text4baby, the largest and only free mobile health initiative in the U.S. utilizing the power of cell phones and text messaging to help, to date, over 588,000 expectant women and new mothers keep themselves and their babies healthy and safe.  More information about HMHB can be found at