(NaturalNews) A new study conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that parents are relying more and more on natural therapies and healthy lifestyle options to improve their child's attention and behavior. The research results were published in the January issue of the medical journal Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
Parents prefer natural therapies
Statistics reveal that each year, up to 10 percent of school-age children are diagnosed with ADHD. Under guidance from pediatricians, parents are increasingly interested in making correct dietary and lifestyle choices for their children.
"Many parents are reluctant to put their children on medication for ADHD, and instead want to first try healthy lifestyle options to help promote optimal focus and attention," explained professor of public health sciences Kathy Kemper, who led the study. Dr. Kemper also clarified that the aim of her research was to determine what parents are interested in learning about from an integrative pediatrician when they seek alternative treatments for ADHD. Integrative pediatrics is a holistic practice that focuses on reaffirming the importance of a positive doctor-patient relationship, while incorporating complementary and alternative medicine techniques to achieve optimal health and healing.
For this study, the science team looked at intake forms, physician reports and laboratory studies for no fewer than 75 patients who had sought the counsel of an integrative pediatrician over the course of 18 months. Eighty-seven percent of patients were referred by their doctors, while the rest were referred by specialists. Thirty-one percent of the involved parents stated that they were concerned about ADHD, but only 13 percent of the children were taking medication. According to their findings, many of the children with ADHD often suffer from other types of ailments for which they receive treatment from medical specialists. However, those same specialists avoid recommending ADHD medication.
Doctors don't always recommend medication as a first choice
Dr Kemper is confident that her research results point to an emerging trend among both parents and doctors, where focus is shifted from medication to lifestyle improvements. On the one hand, parents walk into the pediatrician's office with questions on how diet, exercise, stress management and sleep can help improve their child's health. On the other hand, doctor recommendations are sometimes centered on health improvement information and whole-foods diets.
Dr. Kemper advises parents that, "if your child has trouble concentrating in his mid-morning math class, be sure he eats a really good breakfast, or try having him go to bed an hour earlier to see if that helps. If your child can't sit still to do homework when he gets home from school, have him go outside to shoot some hoops and then try doing homework. I recommend using low-risk, healthy lifestyle approaches first before resorting to medication."
A list of board-certified integrative pediatricians can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics' website.
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