Children with ADHD may have higher risk for poor diet

(HealthDay)—Children with more attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms may be at higher risk for an unhealthy diet, but diet quality does not appear to affect ADHD risk, according to a study published in the April issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Annemiek Mian, from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues examined the association between dietary patterns and ADHD symptoms using data from 3,680 school-aged children participating in the Generation R Study. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist when children were 6 and 10 years of age, while dietary intake was assessed at the age of 8 years with a validated food-frequency questionnaire.

The researchers found that more ADHD symptoms at age 6 years were associated with a lower diet quality score at age 8 years. However, diet quality at age 8 years was not associated with ADHD symptoms at age 10 years. A unidirectional relation from ADHD symptoms to diet quality, but not vice versa, was detected using cross-lagged models. Associations were similar regardless of overweight status or gender.

“If our results are replicated, health care professionals working with children with ADHD should be aware of the potential risk for these children to develop unhealthy diets,” the authors write.

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