Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a learning disability that most often occurs in children. Symptoms include difficulty focusing, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. 6.4 million American children have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Parents of children living in high-income neighborhoods have the advantage of being able to treat their child’s symptoms by providing healthier foods that are unprocessed, organic and free of artificial dyes and ingredients. So is there any hope for parents living in low income neighborhoods?
Treatment plans and medications can be expensive, and planning around payment can be stressful. A study from 2007 claimed that the “cost of illness” for a person with ADHD is $14,576 each year. That means ADHD costs Americans $42.5 billion dollars each year.
So for the parents who are already struggling to maintain the basic necessities for their children, shopping organic is out of the picture. What hope do their children have of succeeding in school, and acquiring a job better than their parents?
Cases and diagnoses of ADHD have been increasing dramatically in the past few years. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says that 5 percent of American children have ADHD. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number at more than double the APA’s number. The CDC says that 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, have the attention disorder — an increase of 42 percent in just eight years.
Should America be putting more effort into make healthier foods accessible to more Americans? This approach would help to alleviate the increase in the numbers of children who are diagnosed with ADHD in the future. Or should low-income parents seek to work harder to improve the health of their children? Could one argue that the children in low-income neighborhoods did not have the opportunity to live without ADHD in the first place?