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ADHD Makes Good Eating Habits Hard for Kids

June 8, 2022—Studies show that there is a connection between ADHD and certain eating disorders, such as binge eating.

Researchers believe that approximately one-third of people who binge eat have ADHD. Binge eating happens when children overeat out of boredom rather than hunger. Children with ADHD gravitate toward food as stimulation to overcome boredom and will often fixate on the novelty of certain foods until those foods become unexciting for them and they choose another.

Some evidence points to binge eating in children with ADHD to generate dopamine, a neurochemical lacking in the brain chemistry of those with the condition. Eating triggers the neural-reward response that satisfies the need for stimulation those with ADHD need—especially foods and beverages high in sugar, commonly referred to as junk foods.

While medical intervention can help with cravings throughout the day, the effects of the ADHD drugs wear off, leaving kids with the desire to binge eat later in the evening. One way to curb this is to plan activities later in the day to help stimulate their minds and ease their boredom.

Poor diets also plague people with ADHD, which leads to poor mental and physical health. Researchers offer the nutritional following tips:

Plan menus. Plan menus and avoid buying too many novelty foods. Eating small, balanced meals throughout the day can help your child with energy and sustain balanced nutrition.

Create a healthy food environment at home. Help your child understand the need to have a nutrient-rich diet. Modl it if you have it.

Supplement. Use multi-vitamins to ensure that your child is receiving all of their necessary daily nutrients.

Adapted for Fredericksburg Parent from The Conversation.

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