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Dietary intake and nutrient status in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Kiddie, Joy Y.


Study Objective. To assess the dietary intakes of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); including macro- and micronutrient intake, the percentage of low nutrient density foods in the diet, as well as specific biochemical and anthropometric parameters. Design. Observational study. Setting. Provincial ADHD Program of BC, Children’s’ Hospital, Vancouver, BC. Sample. 44 children aged 6 - 12 years with ADHD, treatment-naïve or stable on medication for 6 months or longer. Main Results. ADHD Children were taller and heavier than population norms, and significantly taller than previously reported in ADHD. Of children aged 6-8 years, 28% were below the Estimate Average Requirement (EAR) for zinc and 61% of children aged 9-12 years were below the EAR for zinc. In addition, 28% of children aged 6-8 years and 39% of children aged 9-12 years were below the EAR for copper. Only 2% of children in the sample were below lab normal cutoffs for ferritin; however, 73% had serum zinc values below lab normal cut-offs and 23% had serum copper below lab normal cutoffs. Overall prevalence of serum zinc below the 2.5 percentile was 23% compared to 2% from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II (NHANES) data. Additionally, mean serum copper was significantly lower than NHANES II data. Mean energy intake was comparable to mean Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) based on the age, gender, height, weight and physical activity of subjects. In addition, mean dietary intake of Low Nutrient Density foods was not significantly different from NHANES II data and there was no significant difference in energy intake or the proportion of daily energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrate than what is observed from CCHS data. Medication treatment for ADHD was not associated with altered dietary intake or nutrient status. Conclusion. Results are suggestive of low zinc status in ADHD.

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