Family Health Guide

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ADHD: Prevention

You can't do much to prevent ADHD -- more and more research links it to genetics. But you can minimize unnecessary risk factors.

  • Don't drink, smoke or do drugs while pregnant or trying to conceive (like we even need to tell you!) Follow your doctor's instructions for reducing the chance of preterm labor and delivery, especially if you have special health conditions that put you at risk. Eat healthy, take your vitamins, get your (approved) exercise, and minimize stress.

  • Once your baby is born, be wary of environmental risks, like lead paint in older homes (keep in mind it wasn't banned by the US government until 1978). Keep up with the advisories on lead in imported toys and other baby items. Avoid bottles, microwave containers and other items using pthalates.

  • Make sure your baby/toddler/young child eats a healthy diet and keeps a regular schedule with plenty of sleep and exercise. While these strategies won't prevent ADHD, a chaotic home or life and unhealthy lifestyle will make an already hyper and/or distracted child worse.