In February 2020 researchers from Canada published the results of their study to assess the association between adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations with the incidence of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and visits to the doctor with symptoms associated with ADHD. It is known that the incidence of ADHD in children and adolescents is linked to a worsening lifestyle, eg poor diet, physical inactivity, poor sleeping habits, and sitting down for too long. A total of 3,436 children, aged 10-11 years, were included in the study and followed up until the child was aged 14 years. A survey was undertaken to collect information on lifestyle factors and compared to the number of visits to the doctor for their ADHD. It was noted that 11% of of children/adolescents were diagnosed with ADHD diagnosis before the age of 14 years. Results showed that an increased consumption of vegetables and fruit, with a lower intake of processed meat & alternatives, saturated fat and added sugar, and a higher amount of physical activity was associated with fewer diagnoses of ADHD. Compared to children who met 1-3 recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, meeting 7-9 recommendations was associated with a substantially lower incidence of ADHD and a reduced number of visits to their doctor because of their ADHD. Further research is required to clarify the potential relationship between ADHD and a poor lifestyle.
Loewen OK et al. Adherence to lifestyle recommendations and ADHD: A population-based study of children aged 10-11 years. Psychosom Med. 2020 Feb 13. [Epub ahead of print]
Canadian healthy lifestyle recommendations for children: https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/