Dr. David Katz thinks many doctors are over-diagnosing and over-medicating kids for ADD/ADHD, for normal childhood traits. He thinks the environment of many kids are not suited to kids doing what kids do. They need to run around and make noise.
It's not the kids that are off. It's the belief that there is something wrong with kids acting like kids.
Dr. Katz has developed "ABC for Fitness" to bring activity into the classroom.
(Transcribed from video interview)
There are times when Ritalin and other medications for ADD/ADHD are truly needed. There are kids of course who have real pathology there and the medication can be quite helpful, but it has long struck me as odd at best, inexplicable at worst, that we would be having more and more kids with ADD and ADHD. If this a genetic condition, why would those genes be spreading? And if it’s an environmental condition, we ought to identify the factor in the environment.
So, it just seemed odd to me. What I think is going on is that as we take kids further and further from an environment that lets them be kids and lets them be healthy, normal childhood behavior starts to look like pathology. I say this as the father of five children. I have four daughters and a son and my son is a unique case because he is a boy, and I have a good personal experience with the fact that the boys are little more hyperkinetic.
My son Gabriel could easily have been diagnosed as hyperactive, attention deficit because he was rambunctious. I have long made the case that rambunctiousness in children needs to be treated with recess, not Ritalin.
I am pleased to say that in response to that thinking, we developed a school-based physical activity program called "ABC for Fitness"–it stands for Activity Bursts in the Classroom. Gabriel actually was the inspiration for it, and it’s a detailed instructional program for teachers that shows them how they can provide brief bursts of structured aerobic activity in the classroom throughout the day whenever the kids need it, and the program is available in its entirety for free. There are links to it from my website.