Adolescents who eat foods that are considered part of a fast food diet may be at a higher risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a report published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.
A western diet consists of processed foods that are high in saturated fat, sugars and sodium, and lacks a healthy intake of vitamins and minerals.
During a recent study, a team of researchers monitored the types of foods consumed by 1,800 adolescents and then categorized their eating habits as their healthy or western-style . The investigators then compared what the participants ate to the number of individuals who have developed ADHD by age 14.
The results of the trial showed that a total of 115 adolescents had been diagnosed with the learning disorder. The team also found that these individuals had eating habits similar to a western-style diet.
The western diet “doesnt provide enough essential micronutrients that are needed for brain function, particularly attention and concentration, or that [the] western diet might contain more colours, flavours and additives that have been linked to an increase in ADHD symptoms,” said Wendy Oddy, lead author of the study.
In 2008, an estimated 5 million Americans aged 3 to 17 years had ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.