Poor eating habits, ADHD and behavioural problems in youth

What is ADHD? Just like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by the tendency to be inattentive, especially during school years.

In addition to inattentiveness, ADHD is accompanied by persistent feelings of inner restlessness, strong craving for instant gratification, fidgeting evidenced by rocking the chair, tapping foot or pen and shifting desk during lectures.

What causes ADHD?

There is a wealth of evidence to prove that ADHD is mainly caused by deficiencies of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, responsible for functions such as attention, memory and action (Jensen, 2011). Jensen further explains that in a healthy brain, the side involved more with impulse control or avoidance behaviour is a bit bigger than the side which is more involved with approach or willingness behaviours. What this means is that a person with a healthy brain feels a stronger need to control impulsive behaviour in order to avoid negative consequences. The food we eat plays an important role, not only in our physical health but in our mental health as well (Perlmutter & Loberg, 2013). Poor eating choice of the food we eat is said to lead to deficiencies in the neurotransmitters, resulting in malfunctioning of the brain. In that way the brain fails to enhance attention, memory and impulse control.

When remarking about the importance of eating healthily for the brain to prevent ADHD, Nei Jing in (Perlmutter & Loberg, 2013) insists that “maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom”.

The irony of ADHD is that as modern day people gain the need to use more of their attentive and memory side of their brains to keep up with the demands of the modern day careers, they tend to rely more on readily available over processed food for quick energy, hence losing the capacity to perform productively.

Our grandparents on the contrary, lived more laid back lifestyles, ate a lot more healthily and had much more organised brains which if given the chance, could be a lot more adaptable to the modern day career demands.

How does ADHD affect youth and their relationships with other members of the community?

Youth with ADHD can be more easily diagnosed in school settings, as the young person would exhibit problematic tendencies such as:

-Talking loudly and unnecessarily in class

-Teasing other children

-Being involved in fights with peers

-Eating impulsively and throwing food packages all over the place.

ADHD people are generally disorganised, due to their poor planning nature.

ADHD youth tends to show impatience or impulsive behaviour and they are easily frustrated (Low Frustration Tolerance). Diagnosis for ADHD is usually more common in boys than girls because boys with ADHD tend to easily display more physically visible symptoms like excessive movement and aggressive behaviour, when they feel frustrated. Such behavioural patterns tend to have implications for later criminal offences.

Girls with ADHD, on the other hand tend to behave in more discreet ways like daydreaming, engaging in covert bullying tendencies such as; gossiping about others, envy followed by exclusion of others, and impulsive sexual activities as a way of seeking love and attention when they feel frustrated.

This behaviour, can have implications for social separation, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancies respectively. Impulsive eating seems to affect both boys and girls almost equally, and it has serious implications for obesity.



There are various therapies available for ADHD, depending on its severity. In the worst case scenarios where ADHD comes with very highly risky behaviour, referral is made to psychiatrists to assess and treat the brain.

Editor's Comment
Escalating fuel prices cause panic

Nowadays it is not uncommon to purchase an item for a certain commodity and return to the shops in a week, to find the same item has gone up by a significant amount of money.Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) last week announced yet another fuel price increase, which follows yet another increase that came into effect on March 29. Hardly two months later on May 12 boom, BERA announced yet another increase, which came into effect at a...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up