The age-old question: Which came first? The fried chicken or the ... ADHD? It's not easy to answer. We know that obese moms are more likely to give birth to kids with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder); people with ADHD (kids or adults) are more likely to be overweight (impulse-control issues?); and refined grains, sweet sodas, red meats and whole dairy increase a child's risk for ADHD.
Now it seems that kids who eat diets high in saturated and trans fats (fried foods and red or processed meats) have a greater chance of developing several childhood disabilities, including impulsivity disorders, depression, anxiety and ADHD.
Five to eight times as many kids are depressed today as there were 50 years ago (less play, more pressure, more obesity), and anxiety is increasingly diagnosed. ADHD affects millions of U.S. children, some as young as 2 years old. Diagnosis is up 66 percent, especially among boys. And these issues often lead to problems as teens and major depression in adulthood.
So for your kids - and you, too - adopt an eating plan packed with fruit, vegetables, 100 percent whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, omega-3 rich salmon and ocean trout, and ALA in walnuts, avocados, and canola and walnut oils). Go for portion control: Keep servings of animal protein about the size of your palm; fill two-thirds of your plate with veggies and whole grains!
And get moving! That means 30 minutes of aerobics (minimum) daily for you and your kids and strength training with weights or stretch bands for you two to three times a week.