Children's Health

Do Artificial Food Dyes Cause Hyperactivity?

Are artificial food dyes in processed foods making our kids hyperactive?

The Food and Drug Administration is holding a two-day meeting starting Wednesday to decide whether available data links the dyes and the disorder. An advisory panel will then recommend whether the agency should further study the issue or require better labeling.

The FDA has so far said there is no proven relationship between food dyes and hyperactivity in most children. But the agency said that for "certain susceptible children," hyperactivity and other behavioral problems may be exacerbated by food dyes and other substances in food.

Hyperactive behavior can include many characteristics ranging from constant activity, being easily distracted, impulsiveness, aggressiveness and inability to concentrate, the National Institutes of Health said on its website. As a result of these behaviors, activities such as schoolwork and participating in quiet activities like reading may be more difficult for kids who suffer from this disorder.

The meeting is in response to a 2008 petition filed by the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest to ban Yellow 5, Red 40 and six other dyes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.