The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between dietary habits and behavioral problems in hyperactive boys and to determine how successful parents are in maintaining their children on sugar-free diets. The mothers of 32 hyperactive boys aged 7 to 12 years and 26 matched controls completed 3-day diet records and food frequency interviews. The hyperactive boys were also evaluated in a playroom for impulsivity, compliance, attention, motor activity, memory, and learning. No differences were found in any of the measures of dietary content between the hyperactive and control groups. The only significant differences between those two groups were a lower socioeconomic status and a greater number of parents attempting sugar-restricted diets in the hyperactive group. Boys on sugar-restricted diets had only on significant dietary difference from those not restricted. Correlations between the information obtained in food frequency interviews and in 3-day diet histories were not significant (r=.06 to .33) for the hyperactive group, but the food frequency interviews were significant for the control group (r= .41 to .47). Four behavioral variables showed significant partial correlations with reported sugar intake. Overall, the results demonstrated that the diets of a group of hyperactive boys were similar to those of a control group. There appeared to be little difference between the diets of the families that attempted to restrict sugar and those that did not.
Wolraich, Mark L.; Stumbo, Phyllis J.; Milich, Richard; Chenard, Catherine; and Schultz, Frederick, "Dietary Characteristics of Hyperactive and Control Boys" (1986). Psychology Faculty Publications. 59.