MILAN - Drink more water, spend less time in front of a screen and do at least one hour a day of physical exercise: these are the life habits that should be adopted and that can help children and youngsters suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This has been demonstrated by a study conducted by the American University of Washington on children aged between 7 and 11 and published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.
The study showed that children with ADHD usually consume more juices with artificial sweeteners, read less than one hour a day, spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen and do not exercise during the week. Parents also reported that their children found it hard to fall asleep. It is possible, suggests the study, that by changing several lifestyle habits together, a virtuous circle will be triggered that leads to further beneficial ways of behaviour. "For example, physical activity makes you thirsty and makes you want to drink water - it concludes. Furthermore, you spend less time in front of the TV and sleeping improves."
Back to healthy habits
Usually people suffering from this disorder have less healthy lifestyles than others, and are treated with medication. This study is the first to examine the number of correct ways of behaviour of children with ADHD, by comparing them with those of their peers during puberty. "Many parents of children with ADHD - says Kathleen Holton, study coordinator - do not want to give them medication. Prompting them to adopt healthy habits can be an effective strategy, alongside traditional medicines". The researchers have thus come up with a number of recommendations, such as not to spend more than 1-2 hours a day in front of a screen, do at least one hour of daily physical exercise, keep a check on the consumption of sugary soft drinks, sleep 9 -11 hours a night, and drink from 7 to 10 glasses of water a day, depending on age.
by Alessandro Michielli