Children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at risk of nutrient deficiency due to the inability to sit through meals. This comparative cross-sectional study was therefore carried out to determine the nutritional status and feeding problems of ADHD children aged 4-12 years.
Sociodemographic data, anthropometric measurements and 3 day dietary intake record were collected from 54 ADHD children and 54 typical development (TD) children. The Behavioral Pediatrics Feeding Assessment Scale was used to assess feeding problems.
Mean subject age was 8.6 ± 2.1 years. On anthropometric assessment, 11.1% of the ADHD children had wasting, while 1.9% had severe wasting. In contrast, none of the TD children had wasting. Approximately 5.6% of the ADHD children had stunting, as compared with 3.7% of the TD children, while none of the TD children had severe stunting compared with 3.7% of the ADHD children. More than half of the ADHD children had mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) below the 5th percentile, indicating undernutrition, compared with only 35.2% of TD children. More than one-third of the ADHD children had feeding problems compared with 9.3% of TD children. There was a significant negative relationship between the ADHD children's feeding problems and bodyweight (r = -0338, P = 0.012), body mass index (r = -0322, P = 0.017) and MUAC (r = -0384, P = 0.004).
Almost half of the ADHD children had suboptimal nutrition compared with 11.1% of the TD children. It is imperative to screen ADHD children for nutritional status and feeding problems to prevent negative health impacts later on.