A new study from Mayo Clinic has reached the conclusion that female obesity might be linked to childhood ADHD. It seems that girls who suffer from ADHD during their childhood are twice more likely to become obese when they become adults.
The study was conducted over a long period of time and involved one thousand individuals. The research team from the Mayo Clinic had to first analyze data regarding weight gain in both girls and boys during their teenage and adult years. Next, they compared it with the percentage of ADHD occurrence among the persons who took part to the study. Thus the results of the study pointed out that among those with ADHD, females were much more likely than males to become obese.
Furthermore, even if the girls took ADHD stimulant treatment they would still have a high risk of obesity, while girls without the condition were much less likely to gain weight. However, stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin which are usually prescribed for ADHD do not seem to influence the weight of the people that took part to the test.
Mayo Clinic researcher and pediatrician Dr. Seema Kumar at the Children Research Center located in Rochester, Minnesota, has explained that ADHD and obesity are both influenced by a series of biological mechanisms. Girls suffering from ADHD might end up overeating because of their lack of control. Furthermore, those with ADHD are known to not have impulse control, and this is surely a contributing factor to the results.
So why is this difference between boys and girls? Apparently boys with ADHD are also hyperactive and by acting out they burn calories. On the other hand, girls start having eating disorders.
The neuropsychology chief at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital from Miami, Dr. Brandon Korman, believes that the results of the study do not apply to everyone. Physicians and parents are the ones who have to monitor the changes of their children and their eating habits, and thus help them stay healthy.
The results of the research were published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal on February 4. The Rochester Epidemiology Project and the National Institutes of Health have funded the study.
Since female obesity might be linked to childhood ADHD, it has become clear that there is a need of greater awareness on the matter. Patients with ADHD have to take preventive measures regarding their lifestyles.
Image Source: Children’s Ministry Magazine