Studies: ADHD doubles the risk of obesity in girls

Studies: ADHD doubles the risk of obesity in girls

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity are related
When children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they usually have problems with their impulsiveness and self-regulation. A recent study found that children with ADHD also have an increased likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. Girls are twice as likely.

Many children around the world are overweight. The reasons for this are very different. Improper eating and little exercise can cause people to put on a lot of weight and become obese. Researchers from the "Mayo Clinic Children's Research Center" found in a recent study that ADHD also increases the likelihood of becoming obese. The scientists published the results of their study in the medical journal "Mayo Clinic Proceedings".

ADHD can cause adult women to become obese
The frequency of obesity among children and adults has increased significantly in the past three decades. Most children eat lots of sweets, ice cream, fries, and all sorts of other unhealthy foods. So it is not really surprising that many adolescents are overweight. But there could be other reasons why children are gaining weight. Now, the Mayo Clinic's medical team has found that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) promotes obesity. ADHD affects girls and boys differently, but we found that a higher risk of obesity in girls can be linked to ADHD, the researchers explain. For adult women, the chances of developing obesity are twice as high if they suffer from ADHD, the doctors added.

Some biological mechanisms affect both obesity and ADHD
Doctors at the “Mayo Clinic” had examined around 1,000 girls and boys in a long-term study. Some participants were diagnosed with ADHD between 1976 and 2010. 336 subjects developed ADHD in childhood and 665 test subjects did not suffer from the disease. The scientists found that sick girls were at twice the risk of developing obesity compared to the boys from the study. There are some biological mechanisms that underlie both obesity and ADHD, says Dr. Seema Kumar. Girls with ADHD may not be able to control their eating behavior and may therefore develop overweight or obesity, the doctor suspects. Children with ADHD have no impulse control, which could play an important role in the development of obesity.

ADHD drugs do not counteract obesity
Previous studies have shown that our sleeping behavior can also affect our weight. People with ADHD often have difficulty sitting still, staying focused, and sleeping through the night. That could be one of the reasons why people with ADHD develop obesity more easily. When childhood ADHD is diagnosed in women, they are twice as likely to develop obesity as adults, regardless of treatment with stimulant drugs, doctors say. This relationship could not be found in boys. Women with ADHD are at a greatly increased risk of developing obesity in adulthood, and medications to treat ADHD do not improve the situation, explains Dr. Kumar.

Nurses and healthcare providers should be better informed about ADHD
If girls are diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, these children and their parents should be given good advice to avoid becoming overweight and obese later. The advice should include information about healthy eating and adequate exercise is an important part of the treatment, the experts explain. Parents, doctors, and other caregivers must be proactive in monitoring eating habits and exercise. You should also be aware of changes in body composition, comments Dr. Brandon Korman of the Miami Children's Hospital researched the results. There is a clear need for greater awareness of the relationship between ADHD and obesity in women. Patients, nursing staff and healthcare providers should be better informed and thus initiate suitable countermeasures, explains Dr. Kuma. (as)

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Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Obesity and ADHD