Food and Behaviour Research

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Do Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Follow a Different Dietary Pattern than That of Their Control Peers?

Rojo-Marticella M, Arija V, Ángel Alda J, Morales-Hidalgo P, Esteban-Figuerola P, Canals J (2022) Nutrients Mar 8;14(6):1131 doi: 10.3390/nu14061131 

Web URL: Read this and related articles on PubMed


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents. A current area of interest is the association between ADHD and food consumption. The aim of this study was to determine the food consumption and dietary patterns of children with and without ADHD in relation to their age and ADHD presentation. The study involved 259 preschoolers aged 3 to 6 years old (57 with ADHD and 202 controls) and 475 elementary-school-age children, aged 10 to 12 years old (213 with ADHD and 262 controls) from Spain. ADHD was diagnosed in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition) from Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children interviews. Eating data were collected using a food consumption frequency questionnaire, and principal component analysis was carried out to analyze dietary patterns. Western-like, sweet, and healthy patterns were identified. The ADHD group was negatively associated with the healthy pattern (p < 0.001) and positively associated with the Western-like diet (p = 0.004). Children with inattentive presentation showed lower adherence (12.2%) to a healthy pattern than that of the control group (39.9%) (p < 0.001). There is an association between ADHD and dietary habits; children with inattentive presentation may particularly be at risk of unhealthy eating habits.


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For further information of the effects of nutrition on behaviour and neurodevelopmental disorders please attend our upcoming webinar:

Nutrition for ADHD and Neurodiverse Minds:  Feeding better mood, behaviour, learning and sleep in ADHD and related conditions

Thursday 9th June at 18.00 (BST)

Hear Dr Rachel Gow and Dr Alex Richardson, 2 leading experts in the field of nutrition and neurodevelopmental conditions, discuss the following:

  • How food and diet can affect symptoms of ADHD and related developmental conditions - including Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and the Autistic Spectrum 
  • Links between these conditions and Anxiety, Depression and other Mood Disorders, as well as physical health and wellbeing.
There will also be a live Q&A session.

  • Click here for further information, and to book your place