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Study finds possible link between ADHD and 'Western' diet

There may be a strong link between diet and the risk of ADHD in kids.

There may be a strong link between diet and the risk of ADHD in kids.


Researchers in Perth, Australia recorded the eating patterns of 1,800 adolescents and then noted whether or not they developed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The diets were divided into “healthy” or “Western” patterns.


Children whose diets were high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and fish were in the “healthy” group. Children who ate a lot of take-out food, sugar, salt, fried and processed foods were put into the “Western” group.


“We found a diet high in the Western pattern of foods was associated with more than double the risk of having an ADHD diagnosis compared with a diet low in the Western pattern,” said Wendy Oddy, leader of nutrition studies at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth.


Perhaps the Western dietary pattern doesn’t provide enough essential micronutrients that are needed for brain function, particularly attention and concentration, or that a Western diet might contain more colours, flavours and additives that have been linked to ADHD, she said.


Dr. Oddy said it’s not clear whether a poor diet leads to ADHD or whether ADHD leads to poor dietary choices and cravings.

 
 
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