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Dietary Choices May Influence ADHD Risk In Children

August 9, 2010 by  

Dietary Choices May Influence ADHD Risk In ChildrenResults of a new Australian study suggest that a child’s dietary habits may increase or reduce their risk of developing attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

For the study, a group of nutritionists from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research analyzed the eating habits of more than 1,800 adolescents.

Children who often consumed processed and fried foods high in saturated fat, total fat and sodium were placed in the "Western" diet group. Adolescents who ate a nutrient-rich diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains made up the "healthy" diet group.

Over the course of the study, a total of 115 children were diagnosed with ADHD, with the majority of these individuals being boys.

After taking into account several risk factors—including social and family influences—the research team found that children who consumed a Western-style diet had double the risk of being diagnosed with the disorder, compared with those that ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate and fiber.

"We suggest that a Western dietary pattern may indicate the adolescent has a less optimal fatty acid profile, whereas a diet higher in omega-3 fatty acids is thought to hold benefits for mental health and optimal brain function," said lead author Wendy Oddy.

However, "it may also be that impulsivity, which is a characteristic of ADHD, leads to poor dietary choices such as quick snacks when hungry," she added.

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  • MsAmericanPatriot

    What those scientists fail to add into the equation is autism. Autism effects ones digestive track which makes one prone to eat certain foods to stave off heartburn amongst other things. I eat a western diet because I lack the enzymes to break down a more healthier diet.

    • JOHN

      Hmmmm…suffering from a digestive enzyme insufficiency should never happen. There are well formulated digestive supplements that should be able to deal with that pretty easily. Also, why do you think the industrial food of the “western” diet would be easier to digest than natural whole foods? The fact is “indigestion” in all it’s various forms is exasserbated by diet loaded with industrial fats, carbs and proteins (manufactured foods). Thermal and chemical manipulation, the inclusion of anything from anti-biotics to anti-foaming agents and much worse can change these otherwise simple and nutritious things into digestive nightmares.

      That said, there is no doubt that “we are what we eat” and what we eat affects who we are, biochemically and psychologically.

    • Duane Williams

      Autism has risen precisly with increased vaccinations!
      Another happening is a threat to us all…Please forward this widely..perhaps somehow it can be stopped!!!

      If you love life at all…you had better see this all the way through!!!!! Your life depends on it!

      S510 Makes It Illegal to Grow, Share, Trade, or Sell Homegrown Food
      Google S510 to read the extent of the Monsanto bill!!!!

      • TIME


        Great post! I have said it before we opened Pandora’s Box long ago,
        this is just one more venue to the end run. It makes one want to just toss their cookies.

        Thanks Duane again great post.

  • Chuck Bolder

    From my research on this matter It is quite apparent that the Omega-6/Omega-3 balance in our diets is one of the main reasons for the MAJOR health problems of our time. Diseases like Cancer, Heart disease, arthritis, diabetes ADHD ,ADD, can all be traced to diet. But our Medical profession for the most part wants to keep adding medication rather than work on diet to solve or at least control these issues.

  • Bob L

    Majority of the ADHD were boys? No news there,Blair. Boys are disruptive, egotistical and by and large, nasty little blighters. Girls are the calm, caring, studious lot. All the way through school this was very true. ADHD cure? On many cases a kick in the rump.And two for the “parents.”

    • Dan Burke

      :) Yep, two for the parents’ for sure. We are busy and so much is all about ourselves that is it little wonder that little “Tommy” is the same as mommy and daddy. The football game to watch or “World of Warcraft” to play that we have the attention span to give to little “Tommy” or “Jill.” We’ve been become such a society of doing this or that, and then when our children cannot focus are we so surprised. And then when a child does stay focused, we call that a problem too….

      I play World of Warcraft, and there have been a couple times I have typed “sorry, extra challenge of child in lap” usually with spelling errors because it is hard to type and play when there is a child in my lap. But my child takes priority. I might tell them what I am doing. When they point out the “monsters” I might say, “oh yes, I see that. It looks like a _____.” And I tell my kids it is a game. This also means I leave the game to play with my kids at times. Or not even play the game at all. Instead of just having to play the game last night, I spent a couple hours putting our twins to bed. It was tough. It would have been easy to just give up and leave them running about their room instead. What would I have done instead? Played World of Warcraft. Instead I stayed in their room, gently encouraging them to stay in bed and lay down. Note: their beds were just changed from cribs to toddler beds so that extra freedom was probably getting them all excited. I was fine with that. We had to deal with similar with their older brother and sister, but it is a lot easier to keep one kid gently in their bed than it is two in two separate beds…. When my wife opened the door, I just calmly accepted that perhaps my efforts were in vain as they leapt out and ran to mommy. But then, I had finally got to the point where they were staying in bed and I didn’t have to block their way or constantly tell them to lay back down….

      Granted when I “rebuilding” my computer the other day, I let my three little girls watch. Even when one climbed on the table for a closer look, I stayed calm. All I did was make it a point to prevent her from touching the exposed circuits. As long as she didn’t touch the delicate stuff I was fine with her looking all she wanted. And I accepted that perhaps she would touch something anyway and my computer would stop working. Would that be my daughter’s fault? No, it would have been mine. But does that mean I should have stopped her from being curious? I don’t think so. By the way, my computer still works fine and I wish my wife had snapped a picture of that. It would have been a favorite of mine, or so I think.

  • libertytrain

    I shared this article with a principal at a Charter school for special needs kids – her reply:
    “We’re food nazis at my school- nothing with sugar (high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose or any other -ose) as a 1, 2 or 3rd ingredient is allowed, all juice must be 100% juice (not simply 100% vit. c) and we don’t allow candy bars, chips (unless they’re baked), soda, etc. for this very reason. We also monitor food dyes- some kids are very sensitive to those, as well.”

  • http://guncontrol Eileen Barayasarra

    My son is 46 now. He was born screaming for food. He was a very long baby, but skin and bones. He could never go 2 hours between feedings. He HAD to have food in the middle of the night until he was past 2 years of age. He had tantrums. He could not sit still. By age 1, he ate a meal big enough for an adult. He stayed tall and skinny. He has always had large bones. Good sturdy bones. He has never broken a bone. When he was 3, he began rolling his eyes and blinking a lot. I took him to all types of doctors. When he was 4, they “discovered” “Hyperactivity” and put him on drugs. The drugs did nothing for him. “Hyperactivity” morphed into ADD, then with more study, ADHD. Still, nothing helped my son. It DID NOT MATTER what he ate as long as there was plenty of it, no change in his behavior. He barely remembers attending grade school, did not learn much except that reading came naturally to him, he IS a good reader. He flunked every math he ever took, yet in high school he got an A+ in both WELDING and DRAFTING! You use math in both! More and more doctors failed to help him. I even took him to a psychologist, who said he could see that there was some sort of problem but that he seemed to be a very pleasant person and he could not see any sort of psychosis. Finally he just dropped out of school. It really was a complete waste of time! He could not remember what he read unless it was some interesting novel. He could not memorize. He STILL does not know his times tables! Yet, he is VERY BRIGHT! We expected him to be a wild, crazy driver. He is not! He is an extremely careful driver. Finally, when he was 33, his eyes became terribly infected, he lost 1/4 of his body weight in 4 months. He went from 200 lbs. down to 153. Finally, a doctor diagnosed him. He was hyper, alright! HyperTHYROID! Since it is so rare for a baby to be born that way, NOBODY HAD EVER CHECKED! By then, he resembled a meth addict. He trembled, his hands shook, he was walking around in CRITICAL CONDITION! His pulse rate was 250 beats a minute sitting in a chair! They radiated and killed his thyroid, put him on a thyroid supplement, and he is FINE!
    Doctors get caught up in what I call “DISEASE DU JOUR.” They find a new disease and just happen to have a new pill for it. Suddenly every patient has it! Hyperactivity/ADD/ADHD had just been “discovered” and EVERY child who happened to move a little too much suddenly HAD IT! That is what I blame for all those doctors’ failure to even LOOK at his thyroid! The past few years, they have pinned the FIBROMYALGIA label on everything they were too lazy to diagnose. My best friend had it and also needed PROZAC to make her sit down, shut up, and STOP BOTHERING THEM! Until the vaginal bleeding started and she died of endometrial cancer. I have known of other cases where they had fibromyalgia until they died of cancer. My ex-husband’s son had fibromyalgia until Mayo Clinic diagnosed Parkinson’s.
    Then every teen who had temper problems suddenly had BIPOLAR DISORDER! Then I found out that the schools got a pay-off for getting them into programs and drug trial studies! With ANY disorder, keep your antenna UP! If you hear of three or more people in a month being diagnosed with some new disease or disorder, START CHECKING! It is probably the newest DISEASE DU JOUR!

  • TouchStone

    “Western” versus “healthy” diets?
    Sure, we got zero bias in THAT “study”.
    …and all about a non-existent “disease”……


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