HealthDay News — Children who follow a Mediterranean diet may be less likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published online January 30 in Pediatrics.

Researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain recruited 120 children and teenagers ages 6 to 16. Half had recently been diagnosed with ADHD. The children received a score based on how well their typical meals matched the traditional Mediterranean diet. The researchers also looked at parents’ education levels, whether children were breastfed, and whether they exercised regularly or were overweight. 

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Of those with ADHD, 30.0% were deemed to have good adherence, compared with 63.3% of their classmates without the disorder. In the end, children with medium to low adherence to the Mediterranean diet were found to be about three to seven times more likely to have ADHD.

“Our data support the notion that not only ‘specific nutrients’ but also the ‘whole diet’ should be considered in ADHD,” the authors write.

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