Specific nutrient deficiencies have been described in children with ADHD including zinc, magnesium, calcium, and essential fatty acids. In addition, children with ADHD have been noted to behave and concentrate better in some studies when the ratio of protein compared with carbohydrate in their diets was increased, however, this was anecdotal information noted from studies designed to study other factors, so its not clear if the increased protein is actually the cause of the improved behavior. In our clinical practice, we have noted a high incidence of what appears to be carbohydrate "craving" among children with ADHD, which can put children at risk for obesity, diabetes type II, and additional dysregulation of mood and concentration. Carbohydrate craving is a well-documented phenomenon in adults, particularly those with certain patterns of obesity, mood disorders, or those undergoing smoking cessation programs. It has not been studied in children, however. Thus, this initial study was designed to determine 1) whether or not children with ADHD have different patterns of nutrient intake compared with children in the same family and children in families without a child with ADHD, 2) if the described nutrient deficiencies are due to decreased intake, and 3) whether there is an increased occurrence of carbohydrate craving, based on parents' perceptions, eating patterns, and actual intake, among children (or certain subgroups of children) with ADHD. The information gained from this study will be used to design additional studies to test causative hypotheses and intervention strategies.
Attention Deficit Disorder With Hyperactivity
||Observational Model: Defined Population
Observational Model: Natural History
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Time Perspective: Prospective
||Nutrient Intake in Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Three day prospective diet records will be completed on 25 children aged 5-13 with ADHD, their sibling controls, and 25 children from control families without ADHD in order to assess their protein, carbohydrate, fat, calorie, and multiple specific nutrient intakes. In addition, a questionnaire will be completed on each child describing several aspects of eating behavior, food choices, and gastrointestinal, allergic, and infectious concomitants.