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Published February 23, 2013, 11:30 PM

Drs. Oz and Roizen: Reading the spike in ADHD diagnosis

Q It seems like half the kids in my son’s fourth-grade class are diagnosed with ADHD. What’s going on? Am I imagining things?

By: Mehmet Oz, M.D., and Michael Roizen, M.D. , INFORUM

Q It seems like half the kids in my son’s fourth-grade class are diagnosed with ADHD. What’s going on? Am I imagining things? – Gail F., Columbia, Mo.

A Well, no, you are not imagining things. A recent report states that between 2000 and 2010 there was a 90 percent increase in the number of black girls diagnosed with ADHD, and overall diagnoses jumped 24 percent.

How does such an increase happen? One answer could be that there’s an increase in the diagnosis, not in incidence, of ADHD. Another possibility is that, at least in part, the jump is caused by kids’ cumulative exposure to triggers right around the time they’re born and as they’re growing up.

Some studies indicate that hormone disrupters, such as BPA (bisphenol A), found in plastics and household products (microwave ovenware, linings of food cans and even cellphones) may contribute to developing ADHD. Tip: The number “7” on the bottom of containers identifies plastics that may contain BPA.

What can you do to reduce your family’s exposure to such potentially harmful chemicals?

  • Avoid all paper receipts. Most have BPA or BPS (bisphenol S); they have the same effect. You don’t absorb BPA/BPS through the skin. However, if you get it on your hands and then touch your mouth or food – bingo! – you get 1,000 times the dose that you’d get from food or drink packaged in plastic.

  • Opt for fresh, not prepackaged or prepared foods.

  • Choose beverages in glass bottles.

  • Try to reduce your use of plastics whenever possible (we know it’s difficult).

And make choices that keep your immune system strong and inflammation to a minimum: That means no trans fats and few saturated fats, no added sugar or sugar syrups, no grains that aren’t 100 percent whole and lots of physical activity (get everyone out playing and running around every day). Have adults in your family take 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 and give kids the age-appropriate dose listed on the label.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer And Chair Of Wellness Institute At Cleveland Clinic. Email Your Health And Wellness Questions To Dr. Oz And Dr. Roizen At Youdocsdaily@Sharecare.Com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.