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Can Too Much Sugar or Bad Parenting Cause ADHD?

By Nigel Boys

Contrary to the popular belief, too much sugar does not cause Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. According to, a website dedicated to helping people take control of their life and health, there are many factors that can increase a child’s risk but sugar is not one of them.

Factors that can increase the risk for ADHD, include exposure to anesthesia and exposure to those who smoke cigarettes. It has also been linked to being genetically transmitted.

Here are a few myths and facts about the causes of ADHD.


1. Sugar.
Sugar is probably the most popular myth as to the cause of ADHD in young children. However, no matter how much sugar intake a child has, no evidence has been found that it can be the cause of ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

2. Born at the end of the year.
Although it is a popular belief that the youngest children in the class are more likely to have ADHD, there is no scientific evidence to support this. On the contrary, studies have found that the younger children tend to be over-diagnosed with ADHD, just because they may be slower to learn on account of their age.

3. Inadequate Parenting.
The NIMH has found no evidence to support the myth that bad parenting can cause ADHD in children.

4. Heavier babies.
No evidence suggests that babies who are born larger than the normal, have a tendency to suffer from ADHD.


1. Anesthesia.

Although there is no evidence to suggest that children who have had experience with anesthesia once in their life, are more likely to contract ADHD, a second time under anesthesia increases the risk to between 7.3 and 17.9%, according to the Mayo Clinic.

2. Genetic Transference.

ADHD can be passed on from parents to children, according to Cardiff University, Wales, U.K., in a study they performed in 2010.

3. Late delivery.

If a woman goes past the normal 40 week stage of pregnancy, their baby is more likely to develop ADHD or other behavioral problems than those who are born on time.

4. Exposure to smokers.

Children who are more exposed to those who smoke have a greater tendency to develop ADHD that those who live in a smoke free zone, according to a study by the University of California, San Francisco.

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