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Poor diet linked to ADHD symptoms

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By Jimmy Downs

Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Dietary quality may play a role in the development of symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study in PLoS One.

A.W. van Egmond-Fröhlich at Department of Pediatrics, SMZ-Ost Donauspital in Vienna, Austria and colleagues analyzed data from 11,676 German children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years and found poor dietary quality was associated with ADHD symptoms.

For the study, the researchers tried to establish associations between physical activity, media time and dietary quality index, and ADHD symptoms.
ADHD symptoms were ascertained based on the parent-rated hyperactivity/inattention subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-HI) completed by parents.

SDQ-HI scores were found associated with the nutritional quality score and the association was found particularly strong in girls.

The researchers concluded "Poor nutritional quality, high energy intake and television exposure appear to be independently associated with ADHD symptoms. The relationship between food energy intake and ADHD symptoms was especially pronounced in girls and this may help to explain the reported association of ADHD symptoms with overweight in adolescent girls."

Previous studies show that long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids like those in fish oil may help children with ADHD. 

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