Gender and ADHD
ADHD is diagnosed more often in boys than in girls. Boys are more likely to have the combined type of ADHD. Girls are more likely to have the predominantly inattentive type.
ADHD tends to run in families. A child who has a parent or sibling with ADHD has an increased risk of also developing ADHD.
Some research suggests that maternal alcohol use, drug abuse, and cigarette smoking during pregnancy may lead to the development of ADHD in the child. Low birth weight has been possibly linked to ADHD. Environmental lead exposure before age 6 may also raise the risk for ADHD.
Several dietary factors have been researched in association with ADHD, including sensitivities to certain food chemicals, deficiencies in fatty acids (compounds that make up fats and oils) and zinc, and sensitivity to sugar. No clear evidence has emerged, however, that implicates any of these nutritional factors as risk factors for developing ADHD.
Review Date: 01/27/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.