Dr Karena Burke of CQUniversity.
Dr Karena Burke of CQUniversity. File

Additives affect kids: researcher

DR Karena Burke admits lunch may seem more scary after listening to her speech on food.

Ms Burke spoke at the CQUniversity Showcase earlier this month about the results of her Food Sensitivity Study into how additives and chemicals in food can influence the behaviour of children.

She said food intolerance was widespread. A 2009 Queensland study found 35% of respondents indicated someone in their household had an adverse reaction to food.

She said more GPs needed to be aware of how diet could affect behavioural patterns of children.

There was evidence to suggest there was a link between “Western foods” that were high in saturated fats and artificial additives and the prevalence of ADHD, dyslexia and other disorders.

GPs needed to understand that if there were a link, a child might need its diet addressed and not medication.

More than 150 parents of children aged up to five attending child care in Rockhampton were approached as part of the study.

All the children had some form of food allergy, which was why they were targeted, she said.

And 25% had ADHD, 15% autism spectrum disorder and 10% anxiety or depression.

Every one of the children had asthma, eczema, hay fever and/or headaches.

She said only 3% had heard about dietary interventions from their GP while 90% heard about it from family or friends.

Ms Burke said the European Union was considering a warning label on certain foods in response to the results of a 2007 Southampton University study linked artificial colourings and preservatives and the behaviour of children.



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