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20 Jun 2011

My 10y old
Dear Diet Doc

My 10 year old is eating what seems to me a HUGE amount of food. He is not overweight at all.(143cm and 32kgs). He used to be on Concerta and now changed to Ritalin LA. I know that the Concerta caused him to eat much less than normal. The Ritalin does not seem to affect his appetite much (perhaps because it works out his system earlier).
What I would like to know, is what is considered adequate for a growing, active boy. Portions of protein, carbs, fats, veg, fruit per day. I am well versed in what healthy food consists off, I am more interested to know how much he shoulb be eating so that I can better decide whether his eating is normal for his age and whether it is really a concern.

He is active - plays lots of sports (4 x a week) andjumps on the trampoline etc. Less than 30 min of tv a day.

Thank you Diet Doc, for the time and effort of replying.
Answer 474 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear BMJ
I checked your son's BMI and it is 15,69, which is indeed not overweight at all. Both Concerta and Ritalin LA list weightloss as a side-effect. This is why it is so important that any child who uses such medications should be regularly monitored by a Paediatric Psychiatrist to determine if their normal growth is not being affected by the medication. According to growth charts, your 10-year-old son is already much taller and heavier than the average for 10-year-old boys, so it would seem that the medication did not suppress his growth, just his appetite. I presume that he is taking the Ritalin for ADHD? If this is the case, then he will probably always have a much greater energy requirement than other children. In addition, you mention that he does a lot of sport (which is excellent because it has a relaxing effect on very active children) and on top of this, he may well be starting his growth spurt If you click on 'Diet'nFood' at the top of this page and then do a Search for "DIET FOR A HEALTHY NERVOUS SYSTEM- DIET & ADHD", this should provide you with additional information. I would also recommend that you read the articles on 'Diets for schoolchildren' on the 'DietnFood' site. Please keep in mind that you son will require larger portions of the suggested foods and also need additional snacks to provide him with the energy he uses up for his activities and because of the ADHD. If you are still worried about his food intake please consult a registered dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area), so that the dietitian can assess his present food intake and growth and make recommendations regarding supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids which can help children with ADHD.
Best regards
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