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Kids Can't Sit Still? Maybe You Can Blame Your Car.

If think you have hyperactive kids, well, much of that hyperactivity is probably a natural part of their childhood. If their active behavior isn’t appropriate to the setting, you might think about changing the setting.

There are some cases of hyperactivity among children, however, that are far outside the norm. There are children who consistently have trouble focusing on the task at hand, and aren’t just sometimes fidgety to get moving.

Parents of these children typically blame their children’s diet, trying to eliminate sugars, preservatives, artificial colorings and flavorings, gluten… practically anything… from what their kids eat.

Instead, they might want to look to eliminate something larger, kept in their garages. A new study published by the National Institutes of Health indicates a correlation between exposure to air pollution caused by automobile traffic and unusual hyperactive behavior among children at the age of 7.

Two explanations I can think of:

1. Chemicals in the exhaust spewed out by cars cause neurological changes that lead to abnormal hyperactive behavior among children.
2. Environments where there is high automotive traffic also have other factors (lack of space for kids to play, for example) that then lead to hyperactive behavior among children.

3 comments to Kids Can't Sit Still? Maybe You Can Blame Your Car.

  • Bill

    I’m inclined to agree with your second hypothesis. We live on a farm where it’s quiet and things move at the natural pace of the seasons and the elements, and there’s no constant barrage of flashing, blaring, buzzing, waving, blinking commercial inputs. But my work as a consultant frequently takes me to major cities around the world. Every time I go into a city I can feel my shoulders hunch up around my ears, my legs start fidgeting, I can’t keep my hands still, and I talk a mile a minute. But when I return home to the farm everything slows down inside me to match the environment. And it’s not just me…I observe the same phenomenon when city-folk come to visit us. I think it’s a simple fact that most peoples’ environments today (i.e., urbanites and suburbanites) is just too loud, too fast, too distracting, too intense. Our nervous systems weren’t evolved to deal with this kind of constant barrage of information-free data constantly pouring in. It just ain’t healthy.

  • Dave

    University of Georgia measured the life span of opossums living on Cumberland Island, a national preserve just off the Georgia coast. They lived something like two to three years. Opossums on the nearby mainland – one to two years. The only factor they could ever come up with to explain the difference was the stress of living near highways, suburbs, etc.

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