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May 10, 2016 07:24 AM EDT

ADHD Children Can Benefit from Healthy Behaviors as Alternative Medication, Study Suggests

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Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University found that children with ADHD are more likely to have unhealthy lifestyle.

Researchers collected database from 184 children diagnosed with ADHD and compared it with 104 non-ADHD youths. They monitored the healthy lifestyle and found several issues on children with ADHD.

The Science Daily notes unhealthy behaviors including consuming more artificial sweetened drink, engaging less physical activity and reading less than an hour per day. The research states that more parents are giving alternative or traditional treatments for their ADHD kids. And this is why it causes such condition.

ADHD prescriptions include Adderall and Ritalin. But given the side effects of any drug, parents become worried that it may affect their children. This is the reason people look for alternative medications instead of treating their children with the prescribed drugs. This has caused more and more ADHD children having unhealthy lifestyle.

Parents are also aware of the fact that their children have various levels of difficulties in sleeping. They thought it was the sleeping habit that caused these kids to miss out healthy behaviors. For the record, ADHD medication often causes sleep disturbance but those children who does not take the ADHD medication, they remain with the same issue, difficulty of falling asleep.

Dr. Kathleen Holton from American University Department of Health suggests that ADHD patients should engage in healthy behaviors since it's proven to have 'effective intervention'. She encouraged parents to talk to pediatricians on how to improve their children's healthy behaviors. For instance, limiting their engagement with TVs or mobile phones, drinking more water, improving sleep by doing a set of routines, and also doing more physical activities. Dr. Holton and co-author Dr. Joel Nigg also suggest combining healthy lifestyle behaviors with traditional ADHD medications.

She stressed a few points on physical activity as it is effective to make the kids move and increases thirst. This allows them to quench thirst with water - making it 'tastier' to drink. Furthermore, physical activity improves sleep. This healthy cycle will change multiple unhealthy behaviors at once.

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