Home / Press Release / Girls with ADHD as a child, has more risk of becoming obese, study says

Girls with ADHD as a child, has more risk of becoming obese, study says

Mayo Clinic’s a long term study linked the adulthood obesity of girls to the ADHD in childhood. The study says that the girls diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as a child, have more risk of getting obesity in their adult life.

Researchers used the data collected from 1976 to 2010 in the study, which monitored 336 boys and girls who were diagnosed with the ADHD disorder in their childhood. They have also monitored 665 boys and girls who are not diagnosed with ADHD.

Although the research included boys, the association of childhood ADHD and adulthood obesity found in girls. Dr. Seema Kumar, pediatrician and researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., lead the study, who observed that women who had the disorder in childhood are at increased (more than twice) risk of becoming obese. However, the link between ADHD and obesity does not change by stimulant medications used for the treatment.

“To our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal population-based study to examine the association between ADHD and development of obesity using patients with ADHD and controls of both sexes derived from the same birth cohort,” Kumar and colleagues wrote.
The study states that some kind of biological activities connected to both ADHD and obesity is playing a major role in girls’ body and mind which ultimately disable the controlling ability of their eating. The author has also suggested to counsel these children to make them learn to keep themselves away from obesity by encouraging fitness and healthier diet within the homes as well as in schools.

Girls with ADHD were significantly more likely than their controls to become obese by their mid-20s. The association was not statistically significant for boys. Children diagnosed with ADHD often have sleep difficulties, which could also lead them to gain excess weight as a result of harmonal and behavioral factors, according to the study.

While noting about the association of ADHD and obesity on boys vs girls, investigators said that the girls diagnosed with ADHD have poorer coping strategies, lower self-efficacy, higher depression, anxiety and eating disorders than boys with ADHD, which could lead to gain excess weight. The study has also unveiled that the boys with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD has the protective behavior through the increased resting energy expenditure.

Dr. Seema Kumar noted, “our finding of sex-specific differences in the association between ADHD and obesity may be partly related to the unique differences in ADHD subtypes, such as the higher prevalence of the inattentive subtype of ADHD in females versus the hyperactive/impulsive subtype, which is more prevalent in males, as well as differences in associated comorbidities between male and female patients.”

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