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Fishing For A Healthy Diet

June 13, 2006

Des Moines, Iowa - Swallow… hook, line and sinker! Eat Iowa's great-tasting fish from lakes, rivers and streams to help your heart, prevent diseases and foster your child's growth.

The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends eating at least two meals of fish from a variety of sources per week.

"Fish are low in saturated fats and contain high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids," said Tom Newton with the Iowa Department of Public Health. "Eating fish from a variety of sources, including those caught in Iowa and purchased in grocery stores, achieves the most health benefits."

The Iowa DNR, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, regularly tests for chemicals in fish in select Iowa rivers and lakes.

"People are sometimes concerned about whether Iowa's fish are safe to eat due to the small amounts of chemicals, natural or man-made, that may be present in fish tissue," said John Olson of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "We are confident that fish consumption guidelines developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the regular testing by the Iowa DNR and U.S. EPA minimize health risks associated with Iowa-caught fish."

On the rare occasion that chemical levels are elevated, an advisory is issued. Rather than completely eliminate fish from the diet, advisories usually recommend eating only one meal per week of a specific type of fish in that water body, or avoiding certain species. Currently, only six Iowa water bodies have fish advisories.

Women who are pregnant or nursing, and children 12 years of age and younger, are recommended to limit consumption of Iowa predator fish (walleye, pike, etc.) to one meal per week. Panfish such as crappie and bluegill pose virtually no risks.

For more information and a list of current consumption advisories. For more information about the health benefits of Iowa-caught fish.


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