Don't want to give your child medication to treat ADHD? There's good news, scientists have found.
A new study has come to a startling conclusion about dealing with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
Although the typical course of action is to treat the disorder with medications like Adderall or Ritalin, the study found that parents can deal with the problem by simply promoting healthy lifestyle habits, according to an American University statement.
Researchers examined 184 children with ADHD and 104 who didn’t have it, finding that those with ADHD were less likely to have a healthy lifestyle recommended by various nonprofit and government agencies.
The guidelines recommend no more than two hours of total screen time per day, whether that be television or video games, and at least one hour of physical activity. It also recommends limiting sweetened beverages, at least nine hours of sleep per night, and up to 10 cups of water daily. Children in the study were between 7 and 11 years of age.
It’s a promising discovery that provides hope to parents of children who don’t want to put them on medication. Scientists found that healthy lifestyles were totally effective, and can be used alone or in conjunction with meds.
“Many parents of children diagnosed with ADHD do not want their children on medication,” said Kathleen Holton, lead study author and assistant professor in American University’s Department of Health Studies and member of AU’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. “Having their children follow healthy lifestyle behaviors may be an effective intervention either alongside or in the place of traditional ADHD medications.
“Parents of children with ADHD should talk with their pediatrician about how to improve health behaviors, such as limiting screen time, encouraging physical activity, improving bedtime routines, and drinking water rather than other beverages,” Holton said.