Poverty and gestational diabetes linked to ADHD


The results of a German study have revealed that socio-economic status and gestational diabetes are strongly linked to the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a behavioural disorder that is marked by difficulties maintaining attention on concentration on one task for prolonged periods of time.

Previously a number of environmental factors have been linked to the occurrence of ADHD in children namely infantile diet and nutrition. This latest research found that women whose blood sugar levels significantly increased during pregnancy, qualifying them as suffering from gestational diabetes, were 50 percent more likely to have children diagnosed with ADHD.

The researcher also found that children born into families of a lower socio-economic class were 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed compared to children born into wealthier families.

The research has significant public health implications. The growing rates of obesity have been linked to increased numbers of women suffering from gestational diabetes. Increased education and help for women wanting to start a family to lose weight before falling pregnant could be an appropriate next step to reduce the incidence rate of children suffering from ADHD.

On a positive note the researchers were pleased to report that breast feeding was significantly linked to a 20 percent reduced chance of developing ADHD even if they were the children of women who suffered gestational diabetes and of lower socio-economic statuses.