Childhood ADHD ups obesity risk particularly for girls as per the findings of a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Research Center.
Conducted by Doctor Seema Kumar, the study built on previous findings linking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with an increased obesity risk. The research findings are published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
According to Doctor Kumar’s team findings, childhood ADHD is particularly risky for girls. This population segment showed a higher predisposition to obesity than their male counterparts. The long-term research analyzed weight gain for both girls and boys who were diagnosed with ADHD.
However, childhood ADHD is severely understudied and misunderstood with girls. It is either misdiagnosed or, in most cases, not diagnosed.
The study conducted at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Research Center looked at weight gain in relation to childhood ADHD in a population sample of the same birth cohort. Childhood ADHD ups obesity risk particularly for girls.
The study included 336 boys and girls born between 1976 and 2010 and diagnosed with ADHD. The control group included 665 boys and girls who were not diagnosed with ADHD. They were matched by sex and age. Doctor Kumar stated:
“Females with ADHD are at risk of developing obesity during adulthood, and stimulant medications used to treat ADHD do not appear to alter that risk”.
The researchers accounted for the weight and height of the participants. In addition, data on stimulant treatment was retrieved from the medical records of the children. In order to determine the relation between childhood ADHD and weight gain or the increased obesity risk, the team used Cox models.
Childhood ADHD ups obesity risk particularly for girls. Female participants who had been diagnosed with ADHD in childhood had twice the likelihood of becoming obese. The increased obesity risk held both throughout childhood and adulthood. Stimulant treatment did not play any role in increasing the obesity risk.
The same association was not found for boys diagnosed with ADHD. Doctor Kumar suggested that counseling programs could help girls with childhood ADHD minimize the risk of becoming obese. In addition, more attention should be paid to the slight differences between boys and girls diagnosed with ADHD.
While the global diagnose refers to common symptoms of ADHD, the disorders manifests largely different with boys and girls. This aspect should be taken into consideration provided efficient counseling programs are set in place.
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