A western diet is linked to teens with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). At least, that’s what some believe after this recent study conducted at Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.
The study is likely to pique the curiosity of parents since many children rely on alternative remedies like fish oil for its health benefits.
Participants included 1800 teens from a pre-existing longitudinal study, and involved analyzing dietary habits. The teens’s diets were categorized as either “healthy” or “western”, and were then compared against their peers to determine whether or not they had received an ADHD diagnosis by the age of 14. In this study, 115 teens had received the ADHD diagnosis.
The “healthy” diet was high in fruits and vegetables, grains, and seafood. The “western” diet consisted mainly of processed, high-sugar, high-sodium, and primarily take-out foods.
According to the study, teens who were in the “western” diet were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD by the age of 14. Researchers explained that these findings not only point to a definitive relationship between what children are eating and how they’re behaving, but had this to say about the results:
“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”
Although at this time, it is still uncertain as to which comes first. It could be that low fatty acids result in ADHD or perhaps even that ADHD results in poorer dietary choices.
The one the that is clear is that the typical western diet is indeed linked to teens with ADHD.
This isn’t the first time studies like this one have made it to mainstream — fish oil cuts ADHD symptoms by nearly half, says some researchers.
Source: Western Diet Link to ADHD