ADHD is most often diagnosed in boys. However, there is some evidence that it is underdiagnosed in girls. Until recently, all major studies were conducted using boys as subjects. More studies on girls with ADHD are now underway. A major study reported that girls with the condition experience the same multiple impairments as boys do.
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 prenatal exposure to tobacco and alcohol may increase the risk for 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.
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