Girls with ADHD are more likely to be obese in adulthood: Study

Girls with ADHD are more likely to be obese in adulthood: Study

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is more prevalent in America than previously thought. A study released by the George Washington University in 2015 said there was a surge in ADHD cases among girls during the study time frame (2003-2011). The research,  titled “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Parent-Reported Diagnosis of ADHD,” was published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

And now, according to a recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in February 2016, scientists probing deep into the association between obesity and ADHD have observed that girls suffering from ADHD are more likely to become obese by adulthood, compared with those who do not suffer from ADHD.

The study titled “Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Sex, and Obesity” also discarded the existing view of treatment with stimulant medications being associated with the development of obesity up to young adulthood.

Long-term impact of ADHD

No research till date has made it clear as to what role does gender differences play in the onset of ADHD during the early stages of one’s life. The longitudinal population-based study that was based on age and sex-matched controls derived from a population-based birth unit due to earlier cross-sectional studies conducted suggesting association between ADHD and obesity observed data derived from the study of 5,700 children in one particular school district in Minnesota.

Of the total  participants, 336 developed ADHD and 387 were identified as obese while they were being monitored. The study, conducted on those born between 1976 and 1982, showed that girls diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to result in being grossly overweight by young adulthood. No significant correlation could be observed for the boys during the research. No plausible reasons could be attributed to the gender-specific dissimilarities while attempting to correlate the pervasiveness of ADHD with obesity.

Lead researcher Dr. Seema Kumar told tampabayreview.com, “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.”

The researchers also noted that girls suffering from ADHD display symptoms of poorer coping mechanisms, lower levels of motivation to produce a desired or intended result, higher level of depression and a greater tendency of eating disorders than men which could possibly result in gaining excess weight.

Understanding ADHD

Though the common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, it is very difficult to diagnose this disease. Previous researches have shown a 52 percent surge in ADHD diagnosis in adolescents from 2003 to 2011.

Stressing on the possible causes of the jump in ADHD diagnoses, psychologist Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, lead author of the book The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance, told the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “The hard part is that ADHD is just like depression, just like autism, just like schizophrenia in that it’s a symptom-based mental disorder.”

Way to recovery

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines ADHD as a childhood disorder that often disallows children to focus or pay attention to tasks concerning day-to-day affairs or resort to behavior, uncontrollable and unmanageable. If your child has been behaving erratically or exhibiting signs like acting impulsively in public or constantly interrupting a conversation, it’s time to realize that the child might have a potential risk of ADHD.

Sovereign Mental Health Services can help find treatment for any mental illness that you or your loved one might be suffering from. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online to speak with one of our experts to learn more about mental problems and the best treatment options.

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