August 30, 2016
Avoiding an unhealthy diet while pregnant may reduce the risk for ADHD symptoms in early-onset persistent youth, due to lower DNA methylation of the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene in the offspring, according to data published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
“Children with an early-onset and persistent pattern of [conduct problems] represent a particular at-risk group, as they often show the highest rates of ADHD, as well as the greatest levels of psychosocial risk exposures in pregnancy (eg, poverty, maternal anxiety) and the early postnatal years (eg, harsh parenting, family discordance),” Jolien Rijlaarsdam, MS, of the Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, in the Netherlands, and colleagues wrote. “One prenatal risk that is a correlate of these psychosocial risks, yet has received far less attention, is diet. ‘Unhealthy diet’ (eg, high fat/sugar) is of particular interest as it has been reported to associate with both [conduct problems] and ADHD.”