It is scary to read stories that link various children's disorders with a higher incidence of drug abuse. A USAToday.com story has reported that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) have up to three times more likelihood than other kids to abuse drugs or become dependent on various substances like marijuana and even nicotine. The study was done at the University of California- LA and University of South Carolina-Columbia.
I am actually bothered by these types of stories because I feel like it dooms kids with ADHD. I understand the need for them and the importance of this type of exposure for valid research studies; all of which can be used to help parents simply parent their child. But I find it to be a stressful piece of information when it does not come packaged with a solution.
So if the aforementioned study (the full story is worth reading) strikes a nerve, you will be happy to know that physical exercise and good nutrition can help to treat children with ADHD and ADD. Both of which are also successful in helping lower drug abuse. Using physical activity to improve the health of your child can also improve their mood and their overall behavior.
ADHD is a brain based disorder where the neurotransmitters do not function normal. Exercise helps to normalize brain chemistry overall. A study conducted by Dr. David Katz demonstrated that there was a 33% reduction of Ritalin use with children that were exercising outdoors. Outdoor activities at least two times a week, specifically seem to improve the behvior of children with ADHD.
Wendy Oddy, an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Child Health Research in Australia examined the diet of 1800 kids. Oddy found, " a diet high in the Western patterns of food was associated with more than double the risk of having an ADHD diagnosis compared to low in the Western diet pattern..."
Although I am not sure how Oddy specifically defined high verse low Western diets, I feel there is credence in the overall message behind her results. The better diets were clearly those lower in sugar, high in omegas, fiber, fruits and vegetables. This is quite apropos considering that even foods with coloring in them are being linked to hyperactivity.
So if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD it is worth exploring some of these non-evasive lifestyle changes
Filed under: Kids Fitness