Children with ADHD may benefit from following healthy behaviors

Posted on May 4, 2016

Photo: flickr

The disorder is typically managed with prescriptions like Adderall or Ritalin, though many parents are worried about side effects from these medications, and are interested in alternative ways to minimize symptoms in their children.

Lead author Kathleen Holton and co-author Joel Nigg, of Oregon Health & Science University, looked at whether or not children age 7 to 11 were following key health recommendations for this age range from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Sleep Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Recommendations include getting no more than 1 to 2 hours of total screen time daily; getting at least 1 hour of physical activity daily; limiting consumption of sugar sweetened beverages; getting 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night; and consuming 7 to 10 cups of water daily, depending on age.

The results suggest that future clinical trial research is needed to quantify the impact of a combined lifestyle intervention on ADHD symptoms. It is possible that changing multiple lifestyle behaviors at once can lead to other healthy behaviors. "For example, physical activity increases thirst, making water consumption more attractive. Physical activity can also offset screen time and can improve sleep. Similarly, removal of caffeinated beverages prevents their diuretic effect, helps increase water consumption, and can help prevent sleep disturbance," Holton said. "As research into health outcomes in children with ADHD continues to provide new insights, focusing on the overall number of healthy lifestyle behaviors may become important."


Source material from EurekAlert


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