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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Do you believe there is a connection of mothers consuming junk food and children being born with ADD?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26840points) April 13th, 2011

According to research scientist on Nightline parents who eat poorly or massive amounts of junk food birth a higher percent of babies with ADD and other stress related problems (at least if monkeys are that close to us to be an indicator) Do you think this suppose generation high in ADD was caused by junk food and it would have been better if people had gone more organic? If most people were vegan would ADD and such be less also?

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17 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

There are so many competing factors in our environment that it is difficult to say which one is most to blame. I have always eaten healthy foods instead of junk food, yet my youngest son had ADD, and I have a lot of the symptoms of adult ADD as well.

mattbrowne's avatar

Epigenetics is sound science, see

And here’s an interesting study done with rats

Rats fed junk food pass down cancer risk through multiple generations of offspring

“A recent study out of Georgetown University Medical Center has concluded that what you eat can affect your children’s and grandchildren’s health, even if they eat healthy themselves. The study, which was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., illustrates that a fatty diet can actually contribute to “epigenetic” DNA modifications, which are inherited changes in DNA patterns. Essentially, one’s offspring can inherit DNA changes caused by their parents’ unhealthy diets and other environmental factors.”

Cruiser's avatar

I would not be surprised by some connection of birth “defects” or your ADD example to very poor food choices. I don’t know that all Vegan is the answer but IMO certainly less sugar and less hormone laced milk and meats would be on order.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

There is probably a correlation between additives, preservatives, hormones, etc. and the seeming increases in ADD and other problems which seem more common today. I would also throw in medications as it is more common for people to take medications (including inoculations) than it used to be. I also wonder, having not seen the mentioned program, if there is a correlation between those who eat junk food a lot and a stressful life in general causing more stress related problems in children.

Yet, I do not believe vegan-ism is a healthy lifestyle either. It seems many people on this site are which is fine. I cannot, personally, justify a diet which also requires supplements in order to fulfill my body’s requirements for nutrition.

john65pennington's avatar

No, but I do beleive that pregnant women who smoke, especially marijuana and other illegal drugs, pass the addiction on to their unborn child.

wundayatta's avatar

I would be skeptical. Why ADD? What’s the causal link? Correlation is not causation, remember.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I would assume that since the mother passes what she eats through the umbilical cord to her baby, if the mother is consuming more than the average amount of “junk food”, then the baby is getting it too. Sugar, simple carbs and food lacking in healthy nutrients all contribute to ADD. A pregnant woman should be eating a balanced diet of protein, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables.

Anything a pregnant mother ingests directly impacts her baby. Smoking will pass nickel and cadmium through the blood to the baby, and drinking regularly is also very unhealthy. Although, doctors WILL tell you that a small glass of red wine, once or twice a week, is perfectly healthy for mother and baby. When I began having early contractions, my midwife told me to stop the contractions by taking a hot bath while drinking half a cold glass of wine.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@optimisticpessimist I want to clarify that veganism doesn’t require any more supplements than another diet. What we get from food should be enough.

Cupcake's avatar

This association would likely be confounded by the likelihood that parents who eat poorly probably feed their young child poorly, maternal educational level, socioeconomic status, etc.

FWIW – It makes me sick to my stomach to see people feeding babies or toddlers kool-aid in bottles.

There are certainly environmental and genetic factors in the development of ADHD. While poor diet in pregnancy is likely correlated with many diseases of the child, it it doubtfully a necessary and sufficient determinant of ADHD.

Coloma's avatar

I dunno..while do think that nutrition is important I also think that we have become a nation that is OCD on insisiting to ‘label’ everyone with something.

Maybe ADD & ADHD is more related to modern child rearing practices which tend towards less attention, less consistency of parenting, possibly some genetic influence.

As with everything there are;lots of gray areas.

What about all of our ancestors that managed to reproduce under less than optimum conditions of healthy nutrition, minus any modern health care advances?

My great aunt was born a 7 month preemie in a farmhouse in Indiana in 1885.
She weighed 2 lbs. and was kept in a cigar box for the 1st weeks of her life.
She lived to be 98 and led a very healthy life.

I think a lot of what is determined to be ADD & ADHD is really just a catch all diagnosis for a lot of regular childhood behavior, levels of maturity and a strong behaviorial link to inadequate parenting skill.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would need to see a lot more research about it done before I would fully believe it. Sure, what the mother eats effects the unborn baby, but to what extent is hard to measure.

Look at all the information about peanut allergies now. Some doctors/researchers feel that women consuming large amounts peanuts while pregnant will cause their child to have a peanut allergy, while others say pretty much the exact opposite, that by exposing the unborn child to peanuts they are helping prevent a peanut allergy.

Personally, I say it all depends on the people involved. Before anything the mother eats gets to the baby, it is broken down. The baby only gets what travels into the mother’s blood stream (which isn’t everything).

breedmitch's avatar

I caught this on Nightline last night. I never heard them say ADD.
What I saw was female offspring (of monkeys being force fed high fat, high fructose diets while pregnant) exhibited anti social behaviors. (they avoided and were wary of the Mr Potato Head doll instead of making friends with the Mr Potato Head doll)
The scientists were trying to draw a correlation to similar effects in human girls of parents who had poor diets.
Where you got ADD from, I don’t know. (I did miss the first five minutes. Perhaps it was mentioned there.)
There were also other scientists who said the work was bunk, worthless, and cruel to do to the monkeys.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir My mistake. I only know what I read from previous posting and those were particularly pertaining to infants.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I have to say that being pregnant myself right now, I had such noble aspirations to eat organic and healthy. My body has gone all haywire though and it is difficult for me to eat, much less, keep anything down. If it’s a bean burrito from Taco Bell that strikes my fancy…so be it. Some sustenance is better than none. There are so many contradictions it’s tough to know what to think. I just have to listen to my body as best I can and make do. Countdown till first trimester is over—12 more days! I just hope my nausea can tell time!

mowens's avatar

I was diognosed with ADD as a first grader in about 1991.

I believe it is all of the stimuli given to the youth. An overload of information that was not given to children of previous generations.

I believe ADD exists but is a nonissue.

And I have it bad. But if I need to get somethign done, I will.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No, I don’t. Personally, I think ADD is genetic. It tends to run in families the same way autism does. Many families with autistic children also have family members with ADD/ADHD.

Does crap food bring about more symptoms of ADD/ADHD/Autism? As far as I can tell, yes.

cak's avatar

I’m a mother of an ADHD/ Asperger’s child. I’m very healthy (minus past health issues). I don’t eat a lot of junk food and stick to mainly organics. Just like I did when I was pregnant.

However, I will say that I notice a huge difference when my child ingests certain foods. We tend to stay away from overly processed foods, preservatives and food colors. We stay as natural as possible.

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