New research exposes the harsh reality of how the unhealthy diet of pregnant women can cause dramatic and unwanted behavioural development in children. Specifically speaking, the research puts an emphasis on how the diet of pregnant women must be given much consideration. Women who consumed a diet of high sugar and high fat during the gestation period are more likely to have children who may develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
ADHD makes it hard for children to control their impulses. It may also have a link to mothers who cannot resist unhealthy food and find it hard to control their impulses as well.
The study published by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry investigated 83 children with early behavioural problems and compared them to 81 children who had less behavioural problems. They also studied the nutrition of the mothers and how the genes responsible for the neurological development in the brain had evolved.
The study revealed that a diet high in sugar and fat altered this gene greatly. Therefore, the children whose mothers were on an unhealthy diet developed ADHD symptoms between the ages of 7 and 13.
The co-author of this study, Dr. Edward Barker, offers a compassionate response to mothers who may feel guilty for having had an unhealthy diet and may blame themselves for the behavioural problems of their children. He emphasizes that parents need not blame themselves as there may be other factors that give rise to ADHD in young children. However, an unhealthy diet was a significant factor that was linked to ADHD in children.
Dr. Barker stresses that ADHD is a “complex psychiatric problem” and a number of factors can determine it. A diet that is well-balanced and nutritious may improve symptoms, however, it does not work alone to promote good mental health in children.