Correlation between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sugar consumption, quality of diet, and dietary behavior in school children

Nutr Res Pract. 2011 Jun;5(3):236-45. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2011.5.3.236. Epub 2011 Jun 21.


This study investigated the correlation between consumption of sugar intake by fifth grade students in primary schools and development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A total of 107 students participated, and eight boys and one girl (8.4% of the total) categorized as high risk for ADHD according to diagnostic criteria. There were significant differences in the occupations and drinking habits of the respondents' fathers between the normal group and risk group. In a comparison of students' nutrition intake status with daily nutrition intake standards for Koreans, students consumed twice as much protein as the recommended level, whereas their calcium intake was only 60% of the recommended DRI (dietary reference intake). Regarding intake volume of vitamin C, the normal group posted 143.9% of the recommended DRI, whereas the risk group showed only 65.5% of the recommended DRI. In terms of simple sugar intake from snacks, students in the normal group consumed 58.4 g while the risk group consumed 50.2 g. These levels constituted 12.5% of their total daily volume of sugar intake from snacks, which is higher than the 10% standard recommended by the WHO. In conclusion, children who consumed less sugar from fruit snacks or whose vitamin C intake was less than RI was at increased risks for ADHD (P < 0.05). However, no significant association was observed between total volume of simple sugar intake from snacks and ADHD development.

Keywords: ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder); dietary behavior; sugar consumption.