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Attention-Deficit Disorder Linked to Weight

Researchers found that untreated ADD and ADHD is associated with an increased risk of overweight

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Among children and adolescents with either attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), overweight is more common in those who do not take any medication for their condition while underweight is more common in those who do take medication, according to a report published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Molly E. Waring, of Brown University Medical School in Providence, R.I., and a colleague conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of 62,887 children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 from the 2003-2004 National Survey of Children's Health.

After adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and depression/anxiety, the researchers found that unmedicated children and adolescents with ADD or ADHD were about 1.5 times more likely to be overweight than those without either condition. They also found that medicated children and adolescents with ADD or ADHD were about 1.6 times more likely to be underweight than those without either condition.

"In light of these findings, children and adolescents with ADD/ADHD should be monitored for overweight and underweight/weight loss," the authors conclude. "By monitoring weight status of these youth, clinicians will be better prepared to prevent the development of childhood obesity and the negative physical health and psychosocial consequences. Future work is needed to better understand the longitudinal and pharmacologic factors that influence the relationship between ADD/ADHD and weight status in children and adolescents."

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